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Police Interrogated Malta Gaming Authority CEO Over Yorgen Fenech Messages

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Police interrogated recently-resigned Malta Gaming Authority CEO Heathcliff Farrugia over WhatsApp messages with Yorgen Fenech, the Tumas Group businessman charged in connection with the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Well-informed sources have revealed that Farrugia was among a number of people interrogated over messages with Fenech, including a certain Anthony ‘Il-Buddy’ Borg. Details on their content are yet to be revealed, however, sources suggested that there could be suspicions of trading-in-influence.

Other sources have downplayed the gravity of the interrogations, insisting that it is standard practice for CEOs and gaming industry stakeholders to be in regular communication with the authorities.

Sources said that Farrugia was also questioned on a wider number of issues regarding the sector and other industries

Farrugia announced he will be stepping down as Malta Gaming Authority CEO to pursue his own business with Chief Officer of Authorisations Karl Brincat Peplow. They will be put on gardening leave for now.

Recent reports have revealed that WhatsApp exchanges between Fenech and Malta’s top officials were commonplace.  The contents of the WhatsApp messages were lifted off Fenech’s phone by Europol, who was handed the device immediately after Fenech’s arrest in November 2019. They will be exhibited in court when experts are called to testify.

Fenech shared over 700 messages with Malta’s Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis between January 2019 and October 2019.  There are also roughly 800 messages between Fenech and former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s right-hand man, Keith Schembri, who remains under investigation for his potential role in the crime.

It has also been confirmed by inspectors that Muscat, Schembri, and Fenech had a shared WhatsApp group between themselves. Meanwhile, former PN Leader Adrian Delia has also been confirmed to have exchanged messages with the businessman.

Sources have suggested that many key political figures, including Zammit Lewis and potential other cabinet members, could pay the price for the questionable communication.

The issue once again raises questions over government communication with stakeholders, with many using unofficial and encrypted channels, like WhatsApp. Muscat even had a private email throughout his political career, which he still uses today.

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