An attempted plea bargain from one of the Daphne Caruana Galizia’s alleged killers somehow reached the arms of Melvin Theuma, the middleman-turned-state-witness in the case.
Well-informed sources have revealed that as-yet-unheard recordings detail how Johann Cremona, who is a business partner of main suspect Yorgen Fenech with connections to Keith Schembri, told Theuma about Vince Muscat’s attempts to orchestrate a plea in the deal.
Muscat, Cremona revealed, had just turned down a 30-year plea bargain and was ready to recant his previous statements to police. Muscat had named Theuma as the middleman in the case, along with references to several key players in other major crimes, including an infamous HSBC heist.
Sources have said that Cremona had a copy detailing the pardon, believed to be an email exchange between Muscat’s then-lawyer Arthur Azzopardi, the Attorney General’s office, and the Justice Ministry. In fact, Cremona even allegedly showed Theuma a copy of the exchange.
The ever-present Azzopardi was only Muscat’s lawyer for around three months, taking on his client in July 2019 and dumping him around 28th October 2019, just as police were gearing up for the arrests of Theuma and Fenech.
There are claims that Cremona even referenced the disgraced former Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri during the conversation, giving some indication that he may have helped secure the unsuccessful plea deal.
Cremona, who is not under investigation for any involvement in the assassination plot or attempts to cover it up, has hung over this case like a shroud. Theuma has told the court several times that he would visit Cremona almost daily to confide in him over the case and unload the significant pressure he felt after the murder.
Beyond his relationships with Theuma and Fenech, Cremona also has ties to Kenneth Camilleri, the former OPM security guard with links to Schembri. He has confirmed that he was the one to set up several meetings between Theuma and Camilleri, one of which detailed an attempted plot to get the three men charged with murder out on bail.
Cremona has downplayed any relationship with Schembri. However, he has confirmed that Schembri did call him up sometime in September 2019 “panicked” because he could not locate Fenech.
On his part, Cremona has denied all wrongdoing – insisting he was just acting as a confidante for Theuma.
Muscat has been attempting to secure some sort of pardon or plea deal ever since Theuma was able to secure one for himself. In November 2019, Muscat filed a request for a presidential pardon, insisting that information he provided to police led them to Theuma.
That request has been ignored with Muscat and his lawyer Marc Sant since filing a judicial protest against Malta’s Prime Minister Robert Abela, noting he was also the legal representative of brothers Adrian and Robert Agius, known as tal-Maksar, who are linked to the murder.
Muscat has allegedly been willing to turn state witness on this case and several other unsolved crimes in the country, including the plethora of car bombs that preceded the Caruana Galizia murder.
He is also willing to provide crucial information on a heist on the HSBC Malta Headquarters in 2010. He says that a current Cabinet member helped with the plan.
The new recordings form part of a cache of tapes recently discovered on devices in a box Theuma handed to police upon his arrest in November 2019.
Investigators handed over the devices to Europol for extraction. However, court experts have said that some files were corrupted while being forensically transferred to each interested party in the case. Some of the recordings detail the potential involvement of former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar.
Major leaks from the investigation have become apparent and have been detailed throughout court sittings, and recordings played to the court. These include information of potential significant leaks from critical players like former Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta, which could also implicate Keith Schembri, on details like arrests, pardon requests, and others.
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