Minister Carmelo Abela has claimed he is not under any police investigation despite the fact that three men accused of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia have all claimed he was their accomplice in the 2010 HSBC bank heist.
Lovin Malta has asked the police to confirm whether or not Abela is under police investigation, given that three men (including a State witness) have alleged his involvement.
In reply, the police said: “In view of article 87 of the Police Act (Chapter 164), we are not in a position to confirm or otherwise, such information.”
Article 87 states: “No police officer shall give any details to the press or the broadcasting media regarding the identity of any person arrested on a reasonable suspicion that he committed an offence… The Police shall not issue to the press, either directly or indirectly, any information about the identity of the person who is about to be charged before the courts or of any investigation.”
Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio, who are accused of Caruana Galizia’s murder, recently wrote to the European Commissioner for Justice, accusing the government of a conflict of interest in their request for a pardon because they had implicated Abela in “serious crimes”, including “complicity in armed robbery”. Vince Muscat (il-Koħħu), a State witness who has been sentenced for his involvement in the Caruana Galizia murder, is also widely reported to have named Abela on the same case.
In May, Lovin Malta reported that Judge Giovanni Grixti had informed Abela he was being investigated by the police. A day later, MaltaToday reported that the police were investigating his alleged involvement.
“I believe that the police are obliged to investigate allegations,” Abela had originally said in his reaction, welcoming the probe.
Four days later, Abela was called in for police questioning.
But in a letter sent to Lovin Malta today, Abela’s lawyer Luciano Busuttil said: “My client makes it clear once and for all, that he was never and is not currently under any sort of police investigation, contrary to what stated, erroneously by you.”
The statement was made in reply to an article reporting Abela’s participation in the EU’s Conference on the Future of Europe, where he was representing the Maltese government.
In the article, it was stated that Abela is currently facing a police investigation for his alleged involvement in a bank heist in 2010.
“My client is requesting you to publish this clarification as soon as possible, while reserving the right to proceed legally against you, should you fail to comply with this request,” Busuttil told Lovin Malta in a legal letter.
Abela has already filed libel proceedings against Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi for saying that Abela was promised €300,000 in exchange for helping the would-be robbers in the 2010 HSBC heist.
Abela was a senior insurance and statistics officer within HSBC’s security department at the time of the heist. In testimony held behind closed doors upon the MP’s request, Abela was asked about his access to equipment used to generate key cards suspected to have been used in the heist, known as a Cotag machine. Abela had confirmed he used the machine when his colleagues were on leave or sick leave.
What do you think of Abela’s statement?