Charles Mercieca, one of Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers, was questioned for roughly four hours over his links to an alleged police leak on suspected information related to new details in the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination.
Lovin Malta can confirm that Mercieca was questioned on suspicions that Inspector Elton Taliana may have leaked details into an investigation linked to Julian Hofstra, the Dutch national who allegedly took secret recordings of Melvin Theuma, the middleman-turned-state-witness in the murder.
Mercieca was ordered to the Police Headquarters on Saturday 16th January at 9pm. He was assisted by lawyer Gianella De Marco and was questioned till at least 1am.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, Mercieca said he was not placed under arrest and was not put under police bail. Mercieca did not comment on the claims.
According to a Times of Malta report, Mercieca approached Taliana to obtain information related to Hofstra. Hofstra is linked to a drugs case in Malta. It said that Mercica gave Taliana Hofstra’s name to run through the police’s common database. Sources told the Times of Malta that no information was passed onto Taliana, who insists he was just trying to curry favour with Mercieca for the case.
However, others have claimed that Mercieca was given access to a police file of Hofstra, who allegedly has seen a copy.
Police have so far taken declarations from Superintendent, Assitant Commissioner, and court expert who have corroborated the attempted leak.
Taliana has been suspended by the Police pending a probe.
Hofstra is a Dutch national who allegedly took secret recordings of Theuma, which could have new information linked to the case. Hofstra, who was on the run in Malta over his involvement in an email marketing affiliate scam, was a resident at the Hilton Hotel, where Theuma worked as a taxi driver.
Both police and Fenech’s lawyers have been trying to get their hands on the recordings.
Allegedly, police have even conducted several searches at residences related to Hofstra but are yet to locate the files. Lovin Malta is informed that Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa and Superintendent James Grech, who works in the homicide department, are working on the case.
Fenech’s lawyers have managed to contact with Hofstra, even visiting the young inmate to listen to said recordings. It appears that both Fenech’s legal team and police are scrambling to get their hands on the crucial evidence.
Mercieca, who left the Attorney General’s office to join Fenech’s legal team, has been interrogated by police once before in connection to an alleged bribe of a Times of Malta journalist.
Times of Malta journalist Ivan Martin flagged how Caruana Curran offered him a set of €500 notes in return for favourable coverage towards his client. Mercieca was also present in this meeting.
Caruana Curran confirmed that he offered “remuneration” to Martin in return for favourable coverage towards Fenech, saying the journalist “led them to understand that we could use his services to help neutralise the bias in the reporting in the media.”
Although Martin has been working full-time with Times of Malta since 2013, the lawyer insisted he only found out about this when Martin told him so after rejecting the cash offer.
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