Fenech’s wine gift to Muscat to be investigated by Standards Commissioner

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Standards Commissioner George Hyzler will be looking into the wines given to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat by Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech at the former’s birthday party.

The infamous birthday party of which footage was leaked, was held at the state’s prime minister summer residence at Girgenti.

Speaking to Newsbook.com.mt, Hyzler said that upon his return on Monday he will start looking into the matter. The request was filed by Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Carmel Cacopardo.

Late last year it was revealed that Muscat received a limited edition of luxurious Bvlgari watch from the murder suspect back in 2014. Later it was revealed that Fenech gifted Muscat three expensive bottles of wine, Petrus, in February. When Muscat already knew that Fenech was suspected in Caruana Galizia’s murder. Lovin Malta also revealed that no cabinet ministers were invited to the Girgenti party for which Fenech was invited.

During a radio interview on Partit Laburista’s radio station, Muscat had claimed that when he could not return expensive gifts, he handed them over to the state. Muscat also claimed that he was a victim of a smear campaign targeting him personally. He added that he received threats which suggested that he would be personally implicated in the murder if he did not advise in favour of granting Fenech a presidential pardon. The outgoing prime minister said that he had returned several expensive gifts.

The Standards Commissioner noted that the request to investigate the wine gift was not a frivolous one. He added that the request to investigate the Bvlgari watch was a separate case which happened prior to the enactment of the law.

Independent candidate Arnold Cassola had urged Hyzler to act according to the spirit of the law rather than the letter, and thereby still investigate the 2014 gift.

The Office of the Standards Commissioner was established in 2018, when the law was enacted. The Commissioner, therefore cannot apply the law retroactively.