In an exclusive interview with Newsbook.com.mt, Socialist MEP Ana Gomes held back no punches in voicing her opinion on Minister Chris Cardona. She said that Minister Cardona had dropped the libel case against assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia because he has something to hide. The allegations in the libel case referred to were those relating to his purported visit to a brothel in Germany when he was on official duty. Gomes said that if he didn’t have anything to hide he would have submitted to the Court the mobile data showing his whereabouts in Germany.
Gomes said that “I find it even more disturbing that until this day he was not heard by the Maltese Police.”
The Portuguese MEP added that:
“So I think it would be indeed very relevant to establish what Daphne…er…wrote about Mr Cardona was indeed correct, factual or not…er…not just itself but also because, of course, it’s very important to establish the motivation of whoever ordered the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. And …er…definitely the guys who are in jail are just the …er…material authors.”
Cardona denies wrong doing
Minister Chris Cardona denied repeatedly that he was in a brothel in Germany maintaining that at the time he was in his hotel. When the story was published his initial reaction had been to declare that he would be instituting a series of libel cases to clear his name. Within a few days he instituted four libel cases and froze the journalist’s personal financial assets. As part of her defence, Daphne Caruana Galizia had asked to Court to request a log of Minister Cardona’s phone calls. Minister Cardona resisted this request, but the court upheld it. On the 10th July 2017 the court asked mobile companies to provide it with the necessary data. Meanwhile, following the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the family took on all the pending libel cases including the Cardona libels.
The Daphne Project, a consortium of investigative journalists, meanwhile alleged that Minister Cardona had been observed in a bar in Siggiewi talking to one of the men who were arraigned for being the material executors of the journalist’s murder, citing two witnesses who had corroborating evidence. Minister Cardona ‘categorically’ denied being in the bar on December 3, the day before the three alleged killers were arrested. He added that he was a regular patron of the bar and did not exclude the possibility that they might have been any of the suspects at the bar at the same time he was there.
Citing government duties, Minister Cardona failed to turn up to the libel hearing in May which resulted in the cases going into default. He also failed to reactivate the cases within the legally prescribed time limit, resulting in the case forever being dropped.
Transcript of the interview
Newsbook.com.mt is publishing a transcript of this part of a wider interview with Ms Gomes, as well as the video footage.
Newsbook: Ms Gomes. On Twitter, on a thread which was started by Andrew Caruana Galizia, who is one of the sons of the assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, you said that the Maltese Economy Minister, Chris Cardona has something to hide and you also added that maybe something that could shed light on the assassination of Caruana Galizia. What did you mean by that?
AG: Mr Caruana Galizia made it clear that Minister Cardona, was dropping the libel case that he entered against Daphne Caruana Galizia when she was still alive. By dropping it he was avoiding the need to submit the data about his phone calls that had been ordered by a magistrate in Malta. To be submitted at the request of Daphne Caruana Galizia, I understand, to protect her own sources, regarding the dispute she was involved with Minister Cardona about what she had written about the stay in Germany. So, I understand that the magistrate and the court had indeed ordered Mr Cardona for a long time to submit this data, which he didn’t. Actually by dropping the case…er…it was a way to ..indeed not to have to submit that. It’s quite disturbing because of course this data relating to his whereabouts, the data regarding his phone calls on the day of his alleged visit in Germany to a brothel…This could be relevant er….
Newsbook: So you are saying that his alleged visit to a…a…sauna strip club could be linked to the assassination…is that correct?
AG: No I’m not saying that. I’m saying that the data relating to, indeed establishing where he was at the time of that visit in Germany , to establish indeed…eh… the truth about what Ms Daphne Caruana Galizia had written. And she stood by what she had written. Whether this was indeed right. And that of course, is a very important element …er…for clarifying who ordered her murder. Even more so, that in the meantime, after assassination, it has been alleged, there have been witnesses according to the journalists who have been involved in the Daphne Project that published that witnesses are there who said that they saw Mr Cardona…er…drinking with some…er…two of the …er…er…individuals who are er…er…in jail accused of having placed the bomb that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia.
So I think it would be indeed very relevant to establish what Daphne…er…wrote about Mr Cardona was indeed correct, factual or not…er…not just itself but also because, of course, it’s very important to establish the motivation of whoever ordered the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. And …er…definitely the guys who are in jail are just the …er…material authors. They were ordered to …er…place that bomb by someone, we don’t know whom. So that’s why I find it very disturbing that by not submitting this data, despite having been ordered by …er…the court…er to this day Mr …er..Cardona procrastinated and finally dropped the case that he had entered against Daphne in order not to be forced to submit this data in his phone…er…in his phone. That is extremely disturbing. That is why I say he has something to hide, because if he didn’t have anything to hide he would have complied with the order of the court. And that’s why I find it even more disturbing that until this day he was not heard by the Maltese Police.
Christoph Schwaiger and Sylvana Debono worked on this story.