Pierre Portelli reached out to Yorgen Fenech to ensure an article claiming that the PN’s youth wing had been taken over by anti-corruption groups like Occupy Justice, was published in Labour Party-leaning media, following their calls for then-leader Adrian Delia to resign.
At the time, Portelli was serving as the head of Media.Link, the PN’s media wing, and was the right-hand man of then-leader Adrian Delia. Fenech had not yet been charged in connection to the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia but had already been outed as the owner of 17 Black, the Dubai-based company linked to alleged government corruption.
Sources claim that Portelli spoke to Fenech in the wake of devastating electoral results in the 2019 MEP elections. Delia was facing significant internal pressure to step down following the results.
MZPN had specifically called on Delia to resign on 3rd June 2019, releasing a comprehensive document on the matter a few days later.
Portelli had reached out to Fenech on 4th June 2019, asking him to speak to his contacts at L-Orizzont, the General Workers’ Union’s newspaper, and leak a story claiming that MZPN had been taken over by MEP David Casa and members of Occupy Justice.
Fenech even allegedly told Portelli to simply axe internal critics, like MP Jason Azzopardi, from the party, given their continued criticism of Delia.
Sources said Portelli’s goal was to discredit any internal opposition to Delia, who eventually faced a confidence vote in July 2019. Delia was successful, however, Portelli was made to resign from his position to appease rivals.
Lovin Malta has previously revealed that Portelli and Fenech would communicate regularly on the encrypted messaging service, colluding on leaking stories against internal party rivals. The pair even discussed Casa’s MEP reelection bid at length.
This included stories against Chris Said, who competed against Adrian Delia for PN leadership, and Nickie Vella De Fremaux, Delia’s estranged ex-wife.
Meanwhile, this newsroom has also exposed closer links to Portelli and Fenech, with the former asking Fenech to help resolve growing salary issues within the PN in March 2019.
Portelli has refused to comment on the issue.
“I am out of politics and have no intention of returning to the fray therefore, while reserving my legal rights, I will not entertain any discussion related to my time in politics,” he said.
Portelli and former PN leader Adrian Delia are currently subject of a magisterial inquiry concerning claims that they accepted regular payments from Fenech, which some have suggested could have been a bribe.
Under court testimony, Keith Schembri claimed that Portelli would meet Fenech once a month to collect €20,000. Meanwhile, he also claimed that Delia took €50,000 from Fenech to ensure that PN MEP David Casa was not re-elected during the 2019 elections.
The pair have both vociferously denied the claims.
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