It’s been just over a year since Lovin Malta reported on a holiday that former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis took at a luxury hotel in France but promised proof on who actually paid for their stay has yet to materialise.
Sources told Lovin Malta that murder suspect Yorgen Fenech had partially funded their 2014 stay at the Hilton Hotel in Évian-Les-Bains, which is owned by the Tumas Group, a group of businesses owned by the Fenech family.
Muscat and Zammit Lewis both denied this.
Tumas Group chairman and CEO Ray Fenech said back then he has no problem publishing proof who paid for this trip if he gets clearance from the Hilton and if he’s satisfied such publication doesn’t breach the Maltese and French data protection regimes.
Fenech told Lovin Malta this week that he has received the information but has yet to receive clearance.
Zammit Lewis had said last year that there’s proof he and Muscat paid for the hotel stay themselves but that he doesn’t have receipts from six years ago.
“I assure you that I always acted ethically and properly, not only in this holiday but in everything I do as a minster,” he said.
However, when testifying at the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry, Zammit Lewis had said he has receipts for all events he organised at Fenech’s hotels.
Repeated requests to the minister in subsequent months to publish the proof have been refused.
Meanwhile, Muscat refused to confirm who paid for the trip, other than to say that no public or EU funds were used, but dismissed a request to produce six-year-old receipts.
Since then, more information about the relationship that Zammit Lewis and Muscat had enjoyed with Yorgen Fenech has come to light.
Zammit Lewis had incessantly messaged Fenech in 2019, telling the businessman that he “misses him so much”, that he was “worried” about him and that “ignorant PL voters underrate him”.
The existence of these messages was first revealed by Lovin Malta and several of them were recently published by author and former PL delegate Mark Camilleri.
Inspector Keith Arnaud also confirmed in court that Muscat had opened a private WhatsApp chat between himself, Yorgen Fenech, and former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri on 6th December 2017.
This was one day after George Degiorgio, Alfred Degiorgio, and Vince Muscat were arrested for the murder of Caruana Galizia.
Muscat has confirmed he knew Fenech was a suspect in the murder when he invited him to his private birthday party at Girgenti in February 2019, where Fenech infamously gifted Muscat three Petrus wine bottles.
The former Prime Minister has repeatedly said he invited Fenech to the party after consulting the Malta Security Services, who advised him to act normally around the businessman so as not to arouse his suspicion that he was under investigation.
However, Fenech has told police that he discussed the murder with Muscat at Girgenti, including whether middleman Melvin Theuma could be trusted.
Muscat has vehemently denied this claim.
Cover photo: Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis (left) with former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
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