Government denies pardon to Yorgen Fenech

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, following a six hour meeting of the Cabinet, announced that tycoon Yorgen Fenech has been denied presidential pardon by decision of government Friday morning. The decision was announced after a cabinet meeting to which the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police attended. In this way PM Muscat roped in all the cabinet into this decision, something he did not do when he recommended pardon to Melvin Theuma. Since Keith Schembri was involved the Prime Minister asked Cabinet to take the decision  he did not partecipate in the meeting. The decision of the Cabinet was in agreement with the advice of the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police.

This cabinet was missing two important personalities, former Minister Konrad Mizzi and self-suspended Minister Chris Cardona as well as the omnipresent Chief of Staff Keith Schembri.

Earlier, a team of lawyers representing Yorgen Fenech wrote to the President of the Republic saying that Fenech was able to give evidence against Chris Cardona, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi and others ‘very close to the PM’.

The lawyers said that it is very clear that neither the PM nor any member of the cabinet should not be in a position to give the recommendation of pardon. Yorgen Fenech has the right to ask that his request be treated without any intervention of person or persons who may have a direct interest in benefiting in that pardon. The lawyers said that the investigators have pointed out that Keith Schembri has every interest in neutralising the evidence against him.

Melvin Theuma

Following a flurry of activity triggered by the Prime Minister’s assertion that Melvin Theuma was being recommended for a presidential pardon, Fenech was called in for questioning by the police. Theuma, described by the Prime Minister as the ‘middleman’ had been recommended for pardon on condition that his information yields tangible results. His pardon was given on Monday.

Spilling the beans

At that point, the only pending request for pardon in front of the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was Yorgen Fenech’s. The latter’s information led to the apprehension of the PM’s henchman, the disgraced Chief of Staff Keith Schembri. Informed sources had told that Fenech became flustered after Theuma’s pardon and started spilling his guts out. It was at that point that he brought Keith Schembri into the picture. He gave substantial information as, at that point he had been angling for a government pardon. This was not given.

Legal observers spoke to saying that if there is no tangible proof, such as the contents of the tapes, then the lack of pardon for Fenech could mean that Keith Schembri will walk free.

Barely 24 hours later, the AFM, in a daybreak operation, apprehended Fenech attempting to flee the country on his boat the ‘Gio’. Since about 05:00h Thursday morning, Fenech has been a key erson of interest to the police in an investigation which spans money-laundering and the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The investigation involves also Europol, Interpol, Olaf and the FIAU.

In conjunction with Fenech’s interrogation, minister for the economy and Deputy leader of the PL Chris Cardona was also called in by the police. Fenech was granted police bail twice in the course of the interrogations once after he had accompanied the police to a search of his yacht late at night and the second after he had to be hospitalised following chest pains.