“Yorgen Fenech and Keith Schembri had ordered Caruana Galizia’s murder” – Witness

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, accused of complicity in the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, continued today.

Yorgen Fenech’s business partner Johann Cremona and Melvin Theuma’s friend Edgar Brincat testified.

In court, Cremona testified that Melvin Theuma, the go in between Fenech and the three suspected hitmen, had told him that he had been ordered by Fenech and disgraced former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri to murder Daphne Caruana Galizia, only to be betrayed later.

Cremona told the court that Theuma would always tell him the same story and the same details on the murder. He testified that the state witness always mentioned the names of Yorgen Fenech, Keith Schembri, former Economy Minister Chris Cardona and David Gatt.

Highlights from today’s court sitting:

  • Edgar Brincat said that Theuma always told him that Keith Schembri was helping Fenech
  • “The more he mentioned that Schembri was helping Fenech the more I was convinced he would not be granted a presidential pardon” testified Brincat
  • Brincat suggested to Melvin Theuma to inform Fenech he was recording their conversations
  • Johann Cremona testified that he used to lie a lot to Theuma to try and calm him down
  • Cremona also said he did not believe Theuma as he could never think of Fenech doing such a thing
  • Cremona denies discussing what Theuma used to tell him but confirms he had received a photo of il-Biglee from Fenech
18:55 Lawyer Jason Azzopardi is asking the court to consider ordering the Police to investigate Lawrence Cutajar and for criminal charges to be brought against him.
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18:51 The next court sitting will be held on the 22nd of June at 10 am.
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18:49 Apparently the witness's name is Edgar Brincat and not Edwin.

The court was surprised that his name is Edgar and not Edwin as has been referred to him during the whole time.
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18:48 The defence suspends the cross-examination.
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18:45 Brincat said that Theuma told him that Yorgen asked Keith Schembri to him (to Theuma) a job.
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18:39 The defence is asking questions to Brincat about the job given to Theuma before the election of 2017.
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18:35 When he visited former Police Commissioner in Luqa, according to Brincat, Cutajar asked him if he is still friends with Theuma.
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18:31 While Brincat is giving his testimony, lawyer Charles Mercieca approaches Fenech, he writes some notes and he then passes the notes on to Lawyer Camilleri who is cross-examining Brincat.
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18:26 Brincat also said that it was Johann Cremona who had told Theuma he was to be arrested.
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18:22 Brincat is saying that it was Theuma's daughter who gave him the idea to start recording conversations with Yorgen Fenech.
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18:20 Lawyer Marion Camilleri is pressing the witness to confirm, or not if Theuma already knew he was to be granted the presidential pardon.
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18:18 Brincat told the court that he never instructed Theuma to threaten Yorgen Fenech with the recordings.
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18:14 Brincat is saying that Theuma had told him that he had discussed the bail for the De Giorgios with Kenneth Camilleri.
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18:13 Brincat confirms he used to communicate with Theuma on a regular basis even before the murder.
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18:12 The defence is cross-examining the witness.
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18:08 Back in session.
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18:08 Today's court sitting started at 10 am.
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18:00 The defence lawyers requested a 5minute break so that they can consult with their client.
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17:58 Brincat cannot understand why Azzopardi is asking him this question.

Lawyer Jason Azzopardi informed the court that the aim of his question (How did the Europol know about the recordings) was linked to what the previous witness, Johann Cremona stated.
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17:57 Brincat said that he was never informed that the Europol knew about the recordings.
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17:56 Magistrate Bonello warned the witness to say the truth as he is under oath.
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17:51 Brincat does not recall the word "Europol" with his conversation Cutajar.
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17:47 Theuma had mentioned to Brincat that he was given a job and went to Castille to inform him about this job.
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17:45 Brincat testified that Theuma told him that Johann Cremona informed him about his arrest in relation to money laundering.
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17:43 Brincat said Melvin Theuma never mentioned Chris Cardona or David Gatt with him.
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17:39 Azzopardi asked Brincat what Theuma told him when he (Theuma) suggested he would pay a visit to Keith Schembri.

"I told him that he is mad in doing this" – Brincat.
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17:34 Brincat is saying that with Theuma he had discussed why he got involved in all this and that Theuma felt he felt obliged towards Fenech since he had given him permission to enter with his taxi near Fenech's hotel.
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17:33 "Theuma did not know he was going to get in such trouble" – Brincat.
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17:30 Yorgen Fenech is seen approaching his lawyers multiple times during Brincat's testimony.
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17:28 Cross-examination by Lawyer Jason Azzopardi.
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17:27 "He did not tell me it was about money but that he would be receiving other help from a certain Kenneth Camilleri" – Brincat.
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17:25 The witness recalls that Theuma told him that he had to meet someone working at Castille who was friends with Keith Schembri.
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17:20 "Theuma did not know Cutajar as I had to explain to him who Cutajar was" – Brincat

"Cutajar the one who used to be at Marsa" Brincat had told Theuma.
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17:18 Brincat said that he only mentioned Cutajar once with Theuma on the recordings.
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17:16 "Cutajar told me that if I had any information on the case I should inform him, especially on the recorded conversations. But I would never hand out Theuma to the police" – said Brincat.
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17:14 Brincat is saying that with Cutajar he once discussed in brief with Cutajar, Melvin Theuma.

Edwin Brincat also said that Cutajar had told him that Theuma is involved in a very serious case and there are also recordings on this case.
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17:12 "I have known Cutajar for many years" – Brincat
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17:08 Brincat confirms that he had visited former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, in Luqa, to do something about a fine.
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17:03 According to Brincat Theuma told him it was in Fenech's and Schembri's interest to eliminate him as if he would be eliminated there would be no link between Fenech, the De Giorgio's and il-Kohhu.
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17:02 "The more he mentioned that Schembri was helping Fenech the more I was convinced he would not be granted a presidential pardon" testified Edwin Brincat.
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17:00 "He always mentioned how Keith Schembri was helping Yorgen Fenech" – Brincat
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16:58 Brincat said that Theuma mentioned Simon Busuttil, Jason Azzopardi, Karol Aquilina as lawyers that could assist him but he was afraid of politics.
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16:57 "Theuma did not want legal assistance as he was afraid of politics," said Brincat.
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16:56 Brincat told the court that Theuma was worried that Fenech fled away.
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16:51 Brincat is explaining that Theuma had changed because of the murder. "He was always a joyful person but became so depressed and paranoid," said Brincat.
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16:46 "The reason why Theuma used to give the money to the De Giorgios from his own pocket was that he was scared they would mention him with the police" – said Brincat
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16:43 Edwin Brincat is testifying that Theuma had told him that from this murder he (Theuma) did not get any money but forked money out of his own pocket.
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16:41 "Theuma used to worry every time new details used to emerge and every time this happened Theuma used to tell me that it was the right time to speak" – said Brincat.
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16:40 Edwin Brincat is saying that he used to worry that if Melvin Theuma would tell the whole truth he would be arrested and would not get out of jail as the murder would be pinned on him.
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16:39 Brincat is explaining that he had told Theuma that if he did not have the recordings there would be no proof that it was Fenech, the mastermind.
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16:37 "I had suggested Theuma to tell Fenech he had recorded conversations," said Edwin Brincat.
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16:36 "I knew Fenech had various contacts because I knew who Fenech was and I knew his uncle and other members of his family. I never spoke to Fenech." – Brincat.
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16:34 "Theuma told me that it was Yorgen Fenech who ordered him to kill Daphne" – Brincat.
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16:33 Brincat told the court that Theuma told him that Fenech informed him that il-Kohhu is feeding information to the police about Daphne's murder.
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16:31 According to Brincat, Theuma explained certain details the first time in a rush as he was worried that Vince Muscat would be granted the presidential pardon instead of him as Muscat was providing the police information.
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16:30 He recalls Theuma telling him that he had told him that he was involved in Daphne's murder.

Brincat said this happened after the murder but does not recall the exact month or date.
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16:28 Brincat says he has known Theuma for the past 30 years.

He used to see him at the Marsa horse racing track.
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16:26 Edwin Brincat has been asked to take the witness stand.
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16:25 We are back in session.
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15:09 The court will wait for Edwin Brincat to testify today.
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15:07 Magistrate Montebello ordered that since Edwin Brincat left the premises without permission an arrest warrant will be issued for Brincat to testify.
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15:02 The court said that Brincat was outside the courtroom earlier today but left and therefore he cannot testify today.

The prosecution has been informed from Dr Matthew Brincat on behalf of Edwin Brincat that his client could not be present after 2:30 pm.
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15:01 Edwin Brincat is next to testify.
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15:01 Johann Cremona's testimony ends here.
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14:57 Inspector Arnaud said that these allegations are being investigated.
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14:53 Cremona said that Theuma used to tell him that he used to communicate with the former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar. However, Cremona confirmed that Theuma did not communicate directly with Cutajar.
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14:51 Cremona tells the court that Theuma used to ask him to call Kenneth Camilleri to check with Keith Schembri if he had any updates.
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14:47 Earlier Johann Cremona said that the photo Fenech sent him was the middleman between Cardona and the 3 accused.
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14:43 Lawyer Marion Camilleri asked Cremona if is it possible that Melvin Theuma wanted for the murder to happen to not lose the money.

Cremona said yes it might have been possible because when he saw the photo Fenech sent him – as the middleman in the murder, he thought Theuma was lying on Fenech.
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14:40 "I was also scared to get rid of Theuma" – Cremona.
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14:37 "I could not get rid of Theuma" – Cremona.
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14:34 Asked how come Camilleri and Theuma both had met at his office, Cremona replied that he does not know why.
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14:31 Magistrate Montebello asked Cremona how come when Camilleri asked him he wanted to meet Melvin Theuma, he said yes and took Camilleri to his residence.

Cremona says he did not ask why he wanted to meet him.

And this was during the time Theuma was already visiting Cremona's office on a daily basis, noted Magistrate Montebello.
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14:31 Cremona said that apart from being neighbours he knew his father and they were also friends.
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14:29 Lawyer Marion Camilleri asked Cremona to explain how come he had the mobile number of Kenneth Camilleri.
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14:24 Defence Lawyer Marion Cremona will cross-examine Johann Cremona now.
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14:20 "I cannot understand why Theuma used to want to extract information from me. Now I can understand that he used to do so because he wanted to involve me too." – said Johann Cremona.
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14:17 Cremona is saying that Melvin Theuma told him that il Kohhu was giving information about the murder to the police.
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14:15 Cremona also testified that he met Schembri and Schembri told him he was worried about Yorgen Fenech.
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14:13 Cremona met Keith Schembri in September 2019.
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14:13 "I never knew Theuma was recording me and he had no reason to do so" – Cremona.
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14:11 Cremona says the man in the photo is bald.
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14:08 Cremona says he does not remember when he had received the photo from Yorgen Fenech.

It was sent via signal, confirms Cremona and he also confirms that it was last year.
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14:07 Azzopardi also asked Cremona to confirm if Theuma had told him that former Police Commissioner had listened to the recordings of conversations between Theuma and Fenech. Cremona confirms.
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13:58 Lawyer Azzopardi asks Johann Cremona to confirm if Theuma had told him that Cardona had to prepare €400,000. Cremona confirms.

He also confirms that if the De Giorgio's would mention Cardona he would be ready to kill them.
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13:55 Magistrate Montebello ordered Lawyer Azzopardi to go ahead with the cross-examination.
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13:52 Azzopardi is saying that as parte civile he has every right to cross-examine the witness at has happened in the compilation of evidence against the De Giorgio brothers and Vince Muscat.
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13:45 Lawyer Jason Azzopardi is to cross-examine the witness.

The defence lawyers are objecting.
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13:44 Magistrate Montebello re-entered.
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13:33 Magistarte Montebello ordered a 10 minute break.
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13:32 We are back in session.
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13:08 We are still waiting outside courtroom 9.
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11:39 The press is asked to leave the courtroom.
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11:37 Recordings will be heard in court behind closed doors.
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11:36 It is going to be now lawyer Jason Azzopardi who is going to ask questions to the witness.
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11:34 Cremona said that he does not know why he invented it.
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11:34 Magistrate Montebello asked the witness why he invented such a thing if he did not want to get involved.
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11:32 "He used to pressure me to contact Kenneth and then once I told him that his Horse shed in Marsa was to be raided. But I invented this. I do not really know if the police did the raid.
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11:31 "Theuma used to ask for a lot of information" – Johann Cremona.
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11:27 Cremona is saying that Theuma always used to tell him that he was betrayed from the very beginning when he started to visit him at his office every day and not only when Theuma knew he was being investigated on money laundering.
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11:23 Magistrate Montebello told Cremona that is not what he said earlier.
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11:22 Inspector Arnaud asked again Cremona if he had messaged or called Fenech to inform him that Theuma wanted to talk to him.

Cremona now confirmed he did.
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11:19 Magistrate Montebello has asked Cremona to clarify if he had spoken with Fenech because earlier in his testimony he said he and Fenech never spoke about the murder.
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11:17 Cremona said that he once showed Theuma a photo of someone known as "Il-Biglee" and Fenech told him that this was him – the middleman between Cardona and the others.
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11:15 "Whenever I used to avoid him I used to tell him that I was in Valletta and he used to come to Valletta" – said Johann Cremona.
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11:14 He again said that he used to lie to Theuma to try and calm him down.
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11:11 Cremona said that once Theuma received a call but did not tell him who he was.

Johann Cremona said that it could have never been Yorgen Fenech.

Asked by Inspector Arnaud why is he saying this, Cremona said that Yorgen would never call at such time.

In his reply, Johann Cremona seems to be defending business partner Yorgen Fenech.
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11:11 Inspector Arnaud said that Theuma did not exactly testify that.
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11:09 Cremona said it is not true that what Theuma testified in court that he had informed him that Theuma would be raided on the 16th of November.
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11:07 Cremona is also saying that Theuma used to msg him till late in the evening until the Cremona would reply to him.
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11:05 When Theuma did not manage to reach Fenech he used to contact Cremona asking him to call Kenneth Camilleri.

Johann Cremona also testified that he never contacted or was asked by Theuma to call Yorgen Fenech.
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11:04 Cremona is saying that he used to lie to Theuma.
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11:02 Cremona is saying that he never tried to confirm what Theuma was telling him.
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11:01 Johann Cremona is saying that he never believed what Theuma was saying because he had been working with Fenech for a very long time and could not believe he could do such thing.
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10:59 Theuma had told Cremona to message Yorgen Fenech that he had recorded him.
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10:57 Cremona is saying that Theuma told him that he made former police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar listen to the recordings that are being played in court.
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10:57 The letter is from the bank to inform Theuma he was not eligible for a bank loan.

This happened in September 2019.
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10:56 Johann Cremona presented in court a letter given to him by Theuma.
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10:54 Cremona also said that he never spoke about all this to anyone but only once to a priest.

Johann Cremona said that the priest had asked him if he was involved in the murder, Cremona replied no and that the priest told him that he does not need to worry.
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10:52 Cremona is saying that as from June 2018 he never spoke to Yorgen Fenech on the murder even though they were business partners.
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10:51 Johann Cremona said that he used to lie alot to Theuma to try and calm him down.
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10:50 Cremona said that it was not him who told Theuma that il-Kohhu (Vince Muscat) was revealing details.
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10:49 Johann Cremona confirms that Melvin Theuma was depressed, tensed and he used to cry alot.
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10:47 Cremona also recalls that Theuma telling him that Mario De Giorgio had told him to meet someone to discuss Cardona.
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10:45 According to Cremona, Theuma told him they he (Theuma) was told that when the accused will be out Cardona has to prepare the €400,000.
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10:43 Theuma had told Cremona that they (David Gatt) had told him that when the De Giorgio's would be out of jail, if they speak Cardona would kill them.
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10:41 Cremona is saying that Theuma had told him that prior to the murder when Fenech told him to stop everything, Theuma had given €30,000 to the De Giorgio's in order to keep his word with them.
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10:39 To try and calm him down Cremona used to tell him that Fenech is a very busy businessman and he may not always answer his calls or messages but at that point, Theuma used to go mad, testified Cremona.
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10:38 Cremona is also saying that whenever Theuma did not manage to reach Yorgen Fenech he used to go mad.
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10:36 Johann Cremona said that Theuma used to tell him to call Kenneth Camilleri to give him the money but Cremona said that he did not always call Camilleri as he did not want to get involved in this case.
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10:35 Cremona is saying that Theuma used to tell him that he would kill himself, that he would get drunk and kill himself.
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10:34 Johann Cremona is saying that he used to speak against Yorgen Fenech with Theuma to try and calm down Theuma and he used to, said Cremona.
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10:31 Johann Cremona is saying that Melvin Theuma had told him that Yorgen Fenech and Keith Schembri ordered Daphne's murder and that they betrayed him.
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10:29 Cremona testified that Theuma always told him the same story, the same details on the murder and always mentioned the names of Yorgen Fenech, Keith Schembri, Chris Cardona and David Gatt.
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10:28 Cremona is saying that before he used to come to his office Theuma used to visit Mario De Giorgio.
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10:27 Theuma then started visiting Johann Cremona at his office every day.
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10:26 Johann Cremona testified that Melvin Theuma then told him that he has been betrayed by Yorgen Fenech and Keith Schembri.
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10:24 Cremona is saying that he then called Camilleri to tell him what was going on and Camilleri told him Theuma asked him to help him.
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10:23 After this episode, Cremona is saying that he asked Theuma what is going on.

Johann Cremona is saying that this was the first time he knew what was going on and that they were discussing matters related to Daphne's murder.
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10:21 Camilleri and Theuma meta in Valletta in front of the Parliament building and Cremona is saying that they heard them saying "Irrangaw mal-bail."
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10:21 Cremona contacted Camilleri who was also in Valletta.
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10:20 The next day Johann Cremona is saying that he went to Valletta when Theuma called him to meet him because he needs to speak to Kenneth Camilleri.
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10:19 Johann Cremona is saying that all this happened in June 2018.
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10:18 A few minutes later Melvin Theuma entered the building and asked Cremona to speak to Kenneth Camilleri who at that time was in Cremona's office.
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10:17 The day after at around 7:30am – 8am, Kenneth Camilleri came to Cremona's office and had a coffee.
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10:16 Johann Cremona said that once they arrived at Theuma's residence he left them to talk and walked away.
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10:15 Cremona said that he drove Kenneth Camilleri to Theuma's residence.
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10:14 Kenneth Camilleri is a Police Officer working within the Traffic section.
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10:13 Cremona said that he became aware of certain information about the murder in 2018 when Kenneth Camilleri came to one of the company's betting shops to tell him to speak to Melvin Theuma.
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10:11 Cremona said he first knew Melvin Theuma in 2013 as a gaming company they rent certain premises from Theuma.
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10:10 Inspector Arnaud asked Cremona what is his current job.

Cremona said he works in the gaming industry and has been a business partner with Fenech since 2011.
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10:07 Today pardoned middleman Melvin Theuma is not present in court.
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10:07 Cremona has taken the witness stand.
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10:06 Inspector Arnaud said that Police has concluded investigations on Johann Cremona.
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10:03 Magistrate Montebello has entered the courtroom.
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09:59 Fenech's defence lawyers, Caruana Curran and Mercieca are seen talking to Police Inspector Arnaud.
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09:59 Inspector Keith Arnaud has entered the courtroom.
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09:55 Fenech is immediately approached by his lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran.
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09:54 Yorgen Fenech has entered the courtroom just now.
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09:54 Relatives of assassinated journalist are also present.
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09:52 Yorgen Fenech's defence lawyers have entered the courtroom.

Lawyer Jason Azzopardi, appearing as parte civile for the Caruana Galizia family, is also present inside the courtroom.
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09:51 In the meantime, today Johann Cremona is expected to testify.

Cremona is a friend of the accused, Yorgen Fenech and pardoned middleman Melvin Theuma.
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09:50 Today's sitting is expected to start at 10 am.
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09:49 Magistrate Rachel Montebello is hearing the compilation of evidence.
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09:47 We are live from courtroom 9.
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09:46 Good morning.

Welcome to Newsbook.com.mt live blog.
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Highlights from the last court sitting:

  • New recordings of conversations between Melvin Theuma and Yorgen Fenech were played in court
  • Theuma’s testimony on these recordings was held behind closed doors
  • On other recording played in court, Theuma mentioned again Chris Cardona and Keith Schembri
  • Theuma said that Fenech told him that il-Fulu had received money on the murder from others
  • Pardoned middleman also said testified that Fenech told him that former deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta used to receive whisky from Fenech in exchange for information on the murder