No Cabinet members were invited to Joseph Muscat’s birthday party, raising questions as to why the Prime Minister chose to invite the man he knew was the prime suspect in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination.
The intimate party took place last February at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Girgenti, and was attended by around 50 to 70 of Muscat’s closest friends.
The exclusive guestlist did not include Cabinet members like Konrad Mizzi, Chris Cardona, Chris Fearne, Julia Farrugia Portelli or Robert Abela.
However, one of the invitees was Yorgen Fenech, who Muscat had already been informed was a prime suspect in the Caruana Galizia murder.
The Office of the Prime Minister recently claimed in a statement to The Times that the Malta Security Services had told Muscat the Fenechs should not be excluded from the list of invitees, presumably so as not to raise suspicions that he was being investigated.
But this explanation is becoming increasingly difficult to believe unless Fenech was even closer to Muscat than his Cabinet members.
Sources who spoke to Lovin Malta said Fenech was not a regular fixture at previous intimate gatherings of the Muscats.
Sources also said that Fenech was among the first to arrive and one of the first to leave. In fact, some guests barely remember seeing him at all.
Muscat has been very cagey about his relationship with Fenech who is one of the shareholders of Malta’s new power station which was a central electoral pillar for Labour in 2013.
When Muscat was originally asked to state the last time he met Fenech, Muscat claimed it had been more than a year ago and did not indicate any special relationship.
Later, Muscat issued a statement to say he met Fenech socially as late as last February.
It then emerged that this February date happened to be Muscat’s birthday party and that Fenech gifted him three rare and expensive bottles of Pétrus wine.
It recently also emerged that Fenech previously gifted Muscat two expensive watches.
Muscat originally said these claims were “deeply manipulated” and he would not engage with them.
But he has since admitted receiving both the wine and at least one of the watches, but claims these were all handed over to the State.
Lovin Malta has sent a series of questions to Muscat about the party but they have been ignored:
1. Can you confirm or deny that you held a party at Girgenti last February to celebrate your birthday?
2. How many people were invited?
3. Is it true that Yorgen Fenech was among the first to arrive? Was he asked to arrive at a certain time?
4. Did Yorgen Fenech arrive alone or with his wife?
5. Was it common for Yorgen Fenech to be invited to such events? Was he invited to the previous birthday parties of the Muscat family?
6. Were any other big businessmen invited to this party?
7. Was Keith Schembri present when Yorgen Fenech arrived at Girgenti?
8. Was anyone around when Yorgen Fenech gave you his gifts which allegedly were three bottles of expensive wine?
9. Did Yorgen Fenech have any private conversations with you during that evening?
10. Was there a particular reason why you were so happy on that night as witnessed in the leaked video from that night?
11. Don’t you think your exuberant behaviour, as recorded in the leaked clip, contradicts the explanation given to The Times about the context behind Fenech’s invitation?