Times of Malta journalist Ivan Martin has vehemently denied allegations by university lecturer Simon Mercieca that he had tipped off Yorgen Fenech about his arrest for the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Police inspector Keith Arnaud has confirmed that on the eve of his arrest, Fenech had messaged his uncle to inform him that “Ivan from the Times” had tipped him off on his newsroom’s monitoring of the Portomaso marina.
Ivan Camilleri was fired from The Times after MaltaToday published a report naming him as the tip-off, and the former journalist has since sued MaltaToday for libel and Times of Malta for unfair dismissal.
However, Mercieca claimed on his blog yesterday that it was Martin, and not his namesake Ivan Camilleri, who had tipped off Fenech about his impending arrest.
“Blogger Simon Mercieca lied about me this week, and I will address it here briefly,” Martin wrote today.
“On Thursday Mercieca uploaded a blog post in which he falsely claimed that I tipped off alleged murderer Yorgen Fenech about his imminent arrest in 2019. This claim is a lie which I categorically deny.”
He said he had no communication with Fenech anywhere near the date of his arrest and never discussed the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case with the suspect either.
Martin added that upon learning that an “Ivan from the Times”, he immediately offered Times of Malta access to his communication devices in full transparency “as is expected of an honest journalist”.
“Times of Malta concluded what was obvious from the start. I had nothing to do with any of this,” he said.
“I will not accept blame for the actions of others who may share my first name. Meanwhile, as a journalist, freedom of expression is a right I feel strongly about.”
“However, as any journalist knows, the power to publish comes with a responsibility to ensure what you say is the truth. I am not litigious. That said, I reserve my right to take all the legal steps necessary.”
Last November, Martin flagged how Fenech’s lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran had offered him a set of €500 notes in return for favourable coverage towards his client. Fenech’s other defence lawyer Charles Mercieca was also present in this meeting.
Caruana Curran admitted offering money but said Martin had led them to believe they could use his services to help neutralise the bias against Fenech in the reporting in the media.
Police have since charged both Caruana Curran and Mercieca with attempted bribery and they’re pleading not guilty.
What do you make of Ivan Martin’s statement?