CASINO

Maltese casino operator arrested over journalist’s death

TAGs: Malta

Jorgen Fenech, a wealthy casino operator in Malta, was arrested last week for an alleged connection to the 2017 murder of well-known journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Now, authorities are hoping he spills the beans on his powerful friends.

She had made a name for herself as being able to dig up corruption among Malta’s political leaders, and this has always been rumored to be the reason she was killed. The fact that two high-ranking political figures have just abandoned their posts as the investigation heats up adds weight to the rumor, and the casino figure apparently knows something. He’s willing to talk, but only if offered complete immunity.

Maltese casino operator arrested over journalist's deathGalizia’s work could often be found in The Malta Independent and she was heavily involved in weeding through the information released with the scandalous Panama Papers in 2016. Those papers uncovered high-level corruption between politicians and even some world leaders, but she was murdered by a car bomb before she could reveal anything else. Her last words to the public hinted at something “desperate” going on in Malta and “that crook Keith Schembri.”

Schembri, until this week, was the top aide to Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. He resigned on November 25, as did Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, Energy Secretary at the time of Galizia’s death. Adding to the list, Economy Minister Christian Cardona publicly acknowledged that he would be relieving himself of his duties, effective immediately.

Fenech is the casino mogul who was arrested last Wednesday and who has apparent knowledge of the 2017 bombing. He was previously the CEO of the Tumas Group, but resigned just before his arrest. Tumas has three casinos in Malta, the only company with multiple venues in operation.

Fenech has indicated that he’ll sing like a canary if he’s given full immunity. That idea most likely stems from the presidential pardon given to Melvin Theuma, another individual who asserts he has evidence about what really transpired with, and who was behind, the journalist’s murder.

Theuma was picked up for alleged money laundering in an investigation unrelated to the murder; however, he offered to give up his information in exchange for immunity. Provided his evidence holds up, that immunity will be granted, and the Maltese government appears to be scrambling to keep the walls from crumbling down.

Investigators say they already have the three individuals who carried out the attack – two brothers and an associate. However, these aren’t saying who ordered the hit and Theuma and Fenech might be able to provide that information.

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