Lawyers representing Daphne Caruana Galzia’s family’s have called for steps to be taken against one of Yorgen Fenech’s defence lawyers after it was revealed that he offered a Times of Malta journalist a bunch of €500 notes in return for favourable coverage towards his client.
Describing Gianluca Caruana Curran’s offer as attempted bribery, Jason Azzopardi called on the Commission for the Administration of Justice to take “serious steps”.
“Yorgen Fenech thinks he can buy everyone out but he’s sorely mistaken. If Yorgen Fenech tried to buy a journalist, let alone what he tried to do to other people. Truth cannot be bought.”
Therese Comodini Cachia commented that quality journalism “doesn’t succumb to Las Vegas Petrus style lavishness”.
“In the face of a culture which saw so many power wielding persons accept lavish gifts, it had to be a newsroom and a journalist to show the courage and high moral ground needed to stand up to this corruption. Truth isn’t bought,” she said.
Andrew Caruana Galizia, one of the assassinated journalist’s sons, also commented on the incident.
A defence lawyer of the man charged with conspiring to assassinate my mother admitted to offering a bundle of €500 notes to a journalist for favourable coverage of his client. Just imagine what they might be offering to public officials and witnesses. @CoEMediaFreedom https://t.co/brihRzWxbV
— Andrew Caruana Galizia (@acaruanagalizia) November 3, 2020
“A defence lawyer of the man charged with conspiring to assassinate my mother admitted to offering a bundle of €500 notes to a journalist for favourable coverage of his client,” he said. “Just imagine what they might be offering to public officials and witnesses.”
Earlier today, Times of Malta journalist Ivan Martin flagged how Gianluca Caruana Curran had offered him a set of €500 notes during a recent meeting.
Charles Mercieca, another of Fenech’s defence lawyers, was also present in this meeting.
“I cannot be sure how many notes he handed as I didn’t unfold them,” Martin said. “I handed them back to him and told him I couldn’t accept payment. I also informed them that I only get paid from Times of Malta, and that he should not do that again going forward.”
Caruana Curran confirmed that he offered “remuneration” to Martin in return for favourable coverage towards his client, 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.