The public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia continued this morning.
Superintendent George Cremona, Anti-Terrorism Chief and the Chairman of the Accountancy Board Prof. Peter Baldacchino testified today.
That is it for today. Thank you for following.
The next sitting will be held on Friday @9:30 am and Paul Apap Bologna is expected to testify.
The registrant on josephmuscat.com is no longer visible, said Vella. She also explained that at the time the registrant was Jonathan Cardona who is the CEO of Identity Malta.
Corinne Vella takes the witness stand.
Matthew Caruana Galizia's testimony ends here.
"As far as I know Jonathan Cardona is not a technical person so I do not think he was behind the setting up of @josephmuscat.com, " said Matthew Caruana Galizia.
The Henley and Partners domain, @gov.com e-mails, @josephmuscat.com and Gmail accounts were used in these thread of e-mails, said Matthew Caruana Galizia.
"In hand" – said an email from either Keith Schembri, Joseph Muscat or Jonathan Cardona, said Matthew Caruana Galizia.
Kalin had also written an e-mail requesting a meeting with the BOV CEO as H&P did not meet with the newly appointed one – They were having some trouble with the bank.
There was also lobbying for the concession in Montenegro, said Matthew Caruana Galizia.
"JM (Joseph Muscat) stayed in suites paid by Henley and Partners" – a verbatim from Daphne's notes.
There was also an instruction from Kalin to a staff member from H&P to pick up Keith Schembri at an airport in London, according to the e-mails Matthew Caruana Galizia is reading a verbatim.
Christian Kalin had asked Johnathan Cardona (in an e-mail) how come the chairman of the PAC – Public Accounts Committee a member of the Opposition.
"KS in my mother's notes means Keith Schembri," said Matthew Caruana Galizia.
An e-mail was also sent from Kalin to Joseph Muscat, congratulating him on the campaign – according to Daphne's notes.
Pilatus Bank tells Fenech to meet Sadr in person.
He is now reading an e-mail that Pilatus Bank sent to former Minister Tonio Fenech. The bank expressed the wish for Fenech to meet with the owner of the bank Ali Sadr.
"My mother writes 4th March: "Is this the best time to pursue this libel case" – Caruana Galizia is reading from his mother's notes.
"We need a jurisdiction in the UK" – an e-mail from Christian Kalin – Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri, Owen Bonnici and Jonathan Cardona were copied in the e-mail.
Other e-mails mention how they were planning to take action against Daphne and Jason Azzopardi.
An e-mail from a certain Christian Kalin from Henley and Partners, says how they had managed to make some legal move against media in Malta.
A reply from Keith Schembri says "Good job Chris."
He is also reading, verbatim, from an email, addressed to Joseph Muscat and Keith Schembri, "do you agree with the call for action"
A particular e-mail says how they were seeking people in the UK who were ready to say that due to the negative comments on the company they suffered a loss of business.
He is reading, verbatim, from the emails.
His mother's notes were jotted down during this meeting.
Matthew Caruana Galizia said that he saw these e-mails during the meeting he attended with his mother with the source.
There are also notes on how Henley and Partners were planning on taking action against Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Notes on the chain of emails between Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri, Owen Bonnici, Jonathan Cardona and a partner at Henley and Partners.
Daphne Caruana Galizia had also taken notes on how the government had instructed Henley and Partners to take action against her in the UK.
He mentions how certain notes which his mother took in Spring 2017 during a meeting with a source, he was also present for this meeting.
He mentioned an offshore company which he believes it belongs to a Mizzi family from Zabbar but these were not clients of Nexia BT.
Matthew Caruana Galizia said that he saw details of other offshore companies which were established by Nexia BT.
He confirms that he spoke to Tonio Fenech about this.
According to Caruana Galizia, the aim to appoint the former Minister on the board was to make it difficult for the Opposition to investigate and report on Pilatus Bank.
Matthew Caruana Galizia is explaining a particular note written by his mother which mentions how Tonio Fenech, former Minister was asked to be on the Board of Pilatus Bank but he had refused.
Notes on the duration of the phone calls are also included in the documents.
Matthew Caruana Galizia said that these notes by his mother show that there was communication between Keith Schembri and Yorgen Fenech.
He said that these notes were taken in Spring 2017 – so before the general election.
He also said that his mother had asked him to help her identify other mobile numbers.
Matthew Caruana Galizia said that his mother had identified a number as being Yorgen Fenech's number.
He mentioned that the documents include also call logs between Keith Schembri and Saviour Balzan. Phone numbers of Miguela Spiteri and Yorgen Fenech are also listed in his mother's notes.
He said that it took time to present these documents as they had to go through his mother's archives.
He is presenting notes and scans taken by his mother after meetings with her sources.
Matthew Caruana Galizia takes the witness stand.
Martin Spiteri's testimony ends here.
The witness said that based on the legal advice they received they had to wait for the legal procedures.
"You waited for 4 years," noted Madame Justice Lofaro.
"How is the code of ethics implemented?" asked Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia.
The exchange of communication with Nexia BT – which was communicated last week
The Quality Assurance report on Nexia BT
The legal advice from the AG
Lawyer Therese Commodini Cachia is requesting the witness to present a number of documents to the inquiry board;
When asked if they should take action and suspend Tonna's warrant and Nexia BT's warrant, Spiteri said that the AG told them to wait for the court proceedings before taking actions.
"There were certain members of the board who wanted to take action as soon as the Panama Papers revealed but we took the advice of the Attorney General," said Spiteri.
He confirms that the Accountancy Board had once faced with money laundering and kickback accusations by a certain accountant who was a PEP – he was a Mayor, said Spiteri.
Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia said that she will be concise.
Spiteri also made the request to be exempted from the secrecy of his profession as a Secretary-General of the Accountancy Board.
He never had any connections with Nexia BT.
He was appointed in 2011.
He is the Secretary-General of the Accountancy Board.
Next to take the witness stand is Martin Spiteri.
Prof. Baldacchino is taking note of the documents he is to present to the court.
"You were passive and waiting from FIAU and MFSA to act" continued saying Madame Justice Lofaro.
"So you are saying that from the information you were receiving from the regulators, there was no sufficient information to suspend Brian Tonna's warrant?" asked Madame Justice Lofaro.
Madame Justice Lofaro, asked Prof. Baldacchino to mention the regulators he is referring to. He said FIAU and MFSA.
"Even the inquiry board cannot mention the criminal proceedings but we still investigate," said the board.
"We never dealt with the criminal investigations," said Prof Baldacchino.
"These accountants abused of their profession," said the inquiry board.
The board notes how apart from Nexia BT there were other accountants who assisted their clients to open offshore companies.
The board said that the Accountancy Board had to suspend Brian Tonna, Karl Cini and Nexia BT immediately, as soon as the Panama Papers were revealed.
The inquiry board said that they can understand the Accountancy Board's limitations but taking absolutely no action is not acceptable and mentioned how until last week Brain Tonna despite all this, still had his warrant.
He continued saying that at the time when the Panama Papers were revealed he was not the Chairman of the Accountancy Board.
Prof. Baldacchino is continuously saying that they always followed the advice of the Attorney general but the recent decision to take disciplinary proceedings against Brian Tonna and Nexia BT, was based on the advice of the Board's lawyer.
"How is it possible that you did nothing," said Madame Justice Lofaro.
Madame Justice Lofaro is annoyed with the replies given by Prof. Baldacchino.
The board is also asking for the quality assurance report on Nexia BT to be presented.
He confirmed that they had met with Former Economic Crimes Unit Head, Assistant Police Commissioner Ian Abdilla.
The board noted how the Accountancy Board has the duty to safeguard the integrity of the profession and in no way they could have tolerated the international scandal Panama Papers.
The board is asking questions on the Panama Papers.
Madame Justice Lofaro asked if they have this advice in writing. Prof. Baldacchino said yes.
He was asked to present them to the inquiry board.
Prof. Baldacchino said that he can also give them a copy of the minutes taken during the meetings.
"The AG and the lawyers had always told us not to take any action until they receive the report of the investigations," said Prof. Baldacchino.
The relation with the regulators.
Legal proceedings do not permit us to investigate in an appropriate manner.
He said that in Malta we have two main problems;
Lawyer Comodini Cachia mentions how the FIAU had traced the "re-payment of the loan" and asked if they saw proof of any documents with establishing the loan.
He continued saying that the Accountancy Board saw the separation agreement.
Lawyer Comodini Cachia is asking Prof. Baldacchino if they considered the "loan he received from Keith Schembri as fake"
He said that he had told them that he had no cash in hand and needed money for his separation.
Prof. Baldacchino said that they investigated Brian Tonna on the allegations of money laundering.
Madame Justice Lofaro is pressing Prof. Baldacchino with questions on the investigations the board had to carry out on Brian Tonna.
Prof. Baldacchino said that the board had called for Brain Tonna to give an explanation and tried to persuade them with his version of "the truth".
Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia is asking the witness if the Accountancy Board asked information on the secret companies that Nexia BT opened in Panama.
He continued saying that the board could not conduct the investigations in the best manner and mentioned how for example the inquiry published in the last few days on Brian Tonna in relation to the passport selling and alleged kickbacks, they did not receive a copy of the report.
"The AG told us that it is dangerous to change the law," said Prof. Baldacchino.
He continued to explain that for the board it was unclear to what extent they could investigate.
"In 2017 the board took the advice from the Attorney General," said Prof. Baldacchino.
"We had also appointed a financial expert to investigate the allegations including the allegations made by MEP David Casa" – said Prof. Baldacchino.
He also confirmed that they conducted meetings with the FIAU.
He confirms that in 2017 the Quality Assurance Unit was in operation to investigate Nexia BT.
This was announced on the 25th of September 2020.
The board has also suspended the two men’s Practising Certificates in Auditing, as well as the registration of Nexia BT and its subsidiaries BTI Management Limited and Nexia BT Advisory Services Limited.
The Accountancy Board took action against Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna and Karl Cini in the wake of their arrest earlier this week, suspending their accountancy warrants in the process.
He confirmed that the board carried out inspections at the Nexia BT offices.
Prof. Baldacchino is explaining that for the board to take disciplinary action it bases its decision on legal counsel.
Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia said that for now he does not need to give his testimony behind closed doors.
Prof. Baldacchino asks to give his testimony behind closed doors.
He said that the letter explains why the request has been made.
Prof. Baldacchino said that yesterday the Accountancy Board received a letter to halt the disciplinary procedures against Nexia BT.
Prof. Peter Baldacchino takes the witness stand. He asked the board to be released from his professional secrecy as a member of the Accountancy Board.
The next witness, Profs. Baldacchino has arrived.
A silencer is a sound suppressor, suppressor or sound moderator. This could give an indication on the way the target was to be killed.
Earlier during today's sitting, the witness explained that the firearm had to be equipped with a silencer.
We are still waiting for the next witness to arrive.
In one of his written replies to the magistrate, as he was recovering in hospital, Theuma used the phrase “they’re laughing at me”.
The police reported that he sustained stab wounds which appeared to be self-inflicted.
In July this year, Melvin Theuma was hospitalised after being found injured in his Swieqi home.
As already mentioned by Lawyer Jason Azzopardi, the state witness, Melvin Theuma had repeatedly said that he was afraid for his life, even before his arrest.
According to the investigators, Fenech used the dark web to search for cyanide in April 2019.
Investigators believed that pardoned middleman Melvin Theuma was the target.
The user who made use of a device owned by Yorgen Fenech used a user name and password and searched for the poison which would kill an adult male weighing 80kg.
Earlier this month it was reported that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had flagged online searches for potassium cyanide, a poison, to a device owned by Fenech some months before he was arrested over the murder.
The inquiry board exited the courtroom.
We are waiting for the next witness to arrive.
The press re-entered courtroom 20.
Cyanide is a rapidly acting, deadly chemical that can exist in various forms most commonly in powder or gas. Various cyanide compounds exist and some have used in heavy industry such as gold-mining.
Cyanide was romanticized in fiction, as the poison of choice for murderers who wanted their victim to make a swift and unceremonious exit.
Spies and resistance fighters too had cyanide capsules in case, when caught, they could not withstand torture and death was preferable to uncovering military secrets.
What is cyanide?
In August, as Police Inspector Kurt Zahra was testifying during the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, following questions made by Dr Jason Azzopardi, he confirmed that Fenech is being investigated over the alleged importation of cyanide.
The dark web is a part of the internet which is not indexed by search engines.
Murder suspect Yorgen Fenech who is charged with being an accomplice in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has used the dark web to search for cyanide aswell.
George Cremona will continue testifying behind closed doors.
Lawyer Jason Azzopardi said that in the coming days the inquiry board will be presented with further evidence about the matter from Europol.
Cremona clarified that George Fenech is Yorgen Fenech's father who is dead.
Lawyer Jason Azzopardi said that this was the time when middleman Melvin Theuma feared for his life.
Ultimately, the Italian Authorities took down the web.
Cremona said that it is not easy to track the money on the dark web as it is done through bitcoin.
Ammunition and a firearm were expected to be delivered.
They found that a package was expected to be received by George Fenech. This dark web operation was called Berlusconi.
The witness is saying that through investigations on the dark web they found certain important information in September 29th 2019.
George Cremona is requesting to give certain details to the board about the investigations behind closed doors.
The first message was exchanged on the day of the murder at 5:05 pm, said Cremona.
Cremona is presenting the court with the what's app chat with his American counterpart.
Cremona said that he informed Silvio Valletta after he contacted them and also informed the then Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar who told him to do what is necessary.
Cremona said that he immediately contacted foreign American experts – FBI and others established in Rome. He said that he did this out of his own will.
He confirmed he communicated with them through what's app which he kept a copy of.
Lawyer Azzopardi: "Let us cut to the chase. October 16th 2017. What happened when you knew about the murder?"
Lawyer Jason Azzopardi is asking the questions.
George Cremona takes the witness stand.
The board enters the courtroom.
Superintendent George Cremona, Anti-Terrorism Chief and the Chairman of the Accountancy Board Prof. J Baldacchino are expected to testify today.
Lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Therese Commodini Cachia who represents the Caruana Galizia family are present inside courtroom 20.
The board of inquiry is chaired by Judge Emeritus Michael Mallia and composed of Chief Justice Emeritus Joseph Said Pullicino and Madame Justice Abigail Lofaro.
Today's sitting is expected to start at 9:30 am.
Good morning and welcome to this live blog.