Yorgen Fenech told associate that ‘Biglee’ was Chris Cardona’s middleman in Daphne murder

Follow us live as the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech continues with the testimony of business associate Johann Cremona

Yorgen Fenech is accused with ordering the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia
Yorgen Fenech is accused with ordering the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia
19:11 That's it for today. Thank you for following. Kurt Sansone
19:06 The court says that it had already informally asked the prosecution whether the allegations made by Theuma about Cutajar were being formally investigated and had received a positive reply. For this reason, the court says that it is formally ordering the Police Commissioner to investigate Lawrence Cutajar. Kurt Sansone
19:03 The court orders the investigation of ex-police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar in connection with the breach of the Criminal Code and the Police Act. However, prosecuting inspector Keith Arnaud weighs in on the argument, saying the police are already investigating the matter. Kurt Sansone
19:01 The defence agrees. Kurt Sansone
19:01 "I wanted to ask you to consider formally ordering the police to take criminal steps against Lawrence Cutajar for a breach of the Criminal Code in at least two crimes and the Police Act in at least 10 crimes. I am not addressing the court as a compiling court, but as a magistrate. After what we have heard today, I cannot but make it." Kurt Sansone
19:00 There is one final request it seems by lawyer Jason Azzopardi. He addresses the court. Kurt Sansone
18:56 That is all for today. Thank you for following. Kurt Sansone
18:55 The case continues on Monday, 22 June at 10am. Kurt Sansone
18:55 The court expresses surprise at this. It had been told that his name was Edwin Brincat. Kurt Sansone
18:55 The prosecution asks the witness his name. It is Edgar Brincat. Kurt Sansone
18:54 The cross-examination is being suspended. Kurt Sansone
18:54 Brincat says that Theuma told him, Keith Schembri had arranged for him to get a job. When Theuma’s job was terminated, he went to tell Brincat about it but he gave no explanation as to why this happened. Kurt Sansone
18:50 Brincat says that when Melvin got his ministry job he had gone to tell him. “I knew he worked long hours with the taxi, but hadn't asked him about it. Theuma was happy about the job he got without applying for.” Kurt Sansone
18:45 Brincat insists that Theuma was obsessed with the thought that "they" had betrayed him, not "he". He explains that ‘they’ referred to Keith Schembri and Yorgen Fenech. Kurt Sansone
18:44 Brincat says that the commissioner had asked him to help with Theuma. ‘I need you to help me,’ Brincat recalls the police commissioner’s words. “My mind went straight to the murder, not the money laundering case,” Brincat adds. Kurt Sansone
18:40 Defence lawyer Marion Camilleri suggests that the witness is a police informant. He denies this, insisting he had lied to the police commissioner to cover for Theuma. Kurt Sansone
18:38 Yorgen Fenech writes something down and hands it to his lawyer, Charles Mercieca. Kurt Sansone
18:36 Brincat says that he had gone to speak to Cutajar sometime in 2019 about a fine he had received. “I met Cutajar at his house. Cutajar told me to get information from Melvin.” Kurt Sansone
18:35 Brincat says that former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar had told him long before Theuma was arrested for money laundering that he was being investigated over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Cutajar had asked where Melvin keeps his recordings. Kurt Sansone
18:33 QUICK REMINDER: It has been a lengthy compilation of evidence sitting today with the court hearing two witnesses. The first was Johann Cremona, a business associate of Yorgen Fenech, who testified on conversations he had with Theuma. The second witness is Edwin Brincat, known as il-Ġojja. Brincat is still testifying. Kurt Sansone
18:31 The witness says that Melvin Theuma had told him that he was expecting to be arrested over money laundering. Kurt Sansone
18:30 Brincat says that Theuma's daughter had given him the idea of recording his conversations. Kurt Sansone
18:30 Brincat: “He would use both. If he heard the word proklama he'd use it, otherwise he'd say jikxef (reveal).” Kurt Sansone
18:29 Camilleri asks whether Melvin had mentioned the word proklama (pardon) to him. Kurt Sansone
18:27 Yorgen chuckles and points to himself as if to say I had nothing to do with it. Kurt Sansone
18:23 Brincat denies having advised Theuma to blackmail Yorgen. "I had told him to record conversations just in case he needed them for the police or something. I had advised Theuma not to go for the pardon,” he adds. Kurt Sansone
18:22 The witness says that Theuma went to speak to Kenneth [Camilleri] for money to cover the Degiorgios’ bail. "The Degiorgios needed bail. Melvin said they wanted bail. He would meet with one of their brothers. He'd tell me about it afterwards, never before.” Kurt Sansone
18:20 Brincat: “No. He mentioned Cremona as having met him only.” Kurt Sansone
18:20 The lawyer describes it as a father-son relationship. She continues: “Did he ever tell you that he was recording Johann Cremona?” Kurt Sansone
18:19 Brincat says that Theuma would visit him regularly. Kurt Sansone
18:19 The court sitting continues. Defence lawyer Marion Camilleri asks the witness about his relationship with Melvin Theuma. Kurt Sansone
18:04 The defence asks for a five-minute break before cross-examining the witness. The court suspends the sitting. Kurt Sansone
18:04 Azzopardi asks how did Europol get to know of Melvin's recordings. But Brincat replies that the question is about something he had not said. The lawyer clarifies that he is referring to the testimony of the previous witness – Johann Cremona. Kurt Sansone
18:02 The court warns the witness that there is a possible prison sentence for perjury. Kurt Sansone
18:02 Brincat says he had spoken to Melvin about Europol after visiting the commissioner but he insists it wasn't Cutajar who mentioned Europol to him. Kurt Sansone
18:01 The court specifies that the question deals with the time before the arrest. Kurt Sansone
18:00 However, Brincat says that “foreign police” had come to search his house at the beginning when they arrested Melvin. Kurt Sansone
18:00 Azzopardi asks whether the word Europol was ever used. Brincat says the commissioner had not told him about Europol. Kurt Sansone
17:59 Azzopardi asks again about the former police commissioner. Brincat reiterates that he went to visit Cutajar because of a fine. Kurt Sansone
17:56 Brincat says that Melvin hadn't told him what the job consisted of or where he was working. Kurt Sansone
17:55 Brincat tells the court that Melvin did not say how he got the government job. "They gave me a job. They sent for me to go to Castille and gave me a job," Brincat recalls Melvin’s words. Kurt Sansone
17:55 Brincat recounts that Theuma had been given a job and took a photo with Schembri and didn’t go to work in the summer of 2017, a few months before Daphne's murder. "They gave him the job before and then I remember he came back angry because they had taken it away from him." Kurt Sansone
17:54 Yorgen Fenech doubles up with laughter. Kurt Sansone
17:53 Brincat: “Someone, a certain Johann, had told Melvin that he would be picked up over money laundering.” Kurt Sansone
17:53 Azzopardi: “What had Melvin Theuma told you about the money laundering case?” Kurt Sansone
17:52 Brincat: "No." Kurt Sansone
17:52 Azzopardi: “Did you ever meet someone in a farmhouse in Gudja, opposite the Palazz ta’ Bettina, before the arrests?” Kurt Sansone
17:51 Azzopardi asks whether Melvin Theuma ever mentioned Chris Cardona and David Gatt to him. Brincat replies in the negative. Kurt Sansone
17:50 The questioning moves on. Kurt Sansone
17:50 Azzopardi: "Even Herod had the Magi, but he used the information to slaughter innocents." Kurt Sansone
17:50 Brincat: "Cutajar has the recordings." Kurt Sansone
17:49 Azzopardi: “When you spoke to Cutajar and since then, didn't Cutajar tell you about when or where the raids would be?” Kurt Sansone
17:48 Brincat: “No.” Kurt Sansone
17:48 Azzopardi asks whether he had been informed that one of the Degiorgio brothers had a recording implicating third parties. Kurt Sansone
17:47 Brincat: “He was doing things that don't make sense. Does it make sense to go to the bishop?” Kurt Sansone
17:47 The questioning moves on. Brincat says that when Theuma had gone outside Castille, he had told him he was crazy. Kurt Sansone
17:44 Azzopardi: “And you remembered where he lived after all those years.” Kurt Sansone
17:44 Brincat: “Years. I had been prodded to visit the commissioner at home because the fine threatened my livelihood.” Kurt Sansone
17:43 Azzopardi: “When was the last time that you spoke to Cutajar before the issue concerning the fine?” Kurt Sansone
17:42 Brincat says that he had never been an informer of Cutajar. Kurt Sansone
17:39 The questioning turns to the former police chief, Lawrence Cutajar. Kurt Sansone
17:38 The sitting is peppered with little exchanges between the defence and the parte civile lawyer. Kurt Sansone
17:38 Brincat recalls: “When Melvin told me about the murder, I shouted at him. Ma kellekx xi tridha.” Kurt Sansone
17:36 The questioning moves on. Kurt Sansone
17:36 Defence lawyer Charles Mercieca interjects: “Is he a psychologist now?” Kurt Sansone
17:35 Azzopardi: “How had he changed?” Kurt Sansone
17:34 Brincat tells the court that Melvin Theuma hadn't remained the same person he knew after going to him with the recordings. Kurt Sansone
17:34 Lawyer Jason Azzopardi is next to ask questions. Kurt Sansone
17:33 Arnaud finished his questioning. Kurt Sansone
17:33 Brincat recalls that Theuma had spoken to Kenneth for help, but it wasn't about money. Kurt Sansone
17:32 Brincat: “Once he told me about some guy, Kenneth, but I can't remember what it was about. Kenneth has something to do with Castille. To be exact, tat-traffic, but I don't know what he meant.” Kurt Sansone
17:31 The court asks whether Melvin had spoken to other people about the case. Kurt Sansone
17:31 Brincat cannot say whether other people knew about the recordings. Kurt Sansone
17:28 Brincat: "Where they're searching Melvin's property, dates for these searches, stuff like that." Kurt Sansone
17:28 The court asks what information Yorgen Fenech would get from Keith Schembri. Kurt Sansone
17:27 “Melvin had never said anything to me about the police commissioner. He would have told me that he knew him. Melvin didn't know Cutajar,” insists the witness. Kurt Sansone
17:25 Brincat had been arrested in November last year and had his premises searched. He says that he had met with the police commissioner at the time, around a week before he was arrested. Kurt Sansone
17:23 Brincat: “I only mentioned the police commissioner to Theuma once because he got very frightened and I realised that it was a mistake.” Kurt Sansone
17:19 Brincat says that he has known Cutajar for 30 years. “I had a restaurant, then, years later I was robbed and Cutajar helped me. One time I had to fix a car battery for him.” Kurt Sansone
17:18 Brincat is now speaking about former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar. He tells the court that he had gone to Cutajar’s house in Luqa to try and fix a fine. At first the former commissioner promised to look into the matter but then did not help. Kurt Sansone
17:13 Brincat says that Melvin Theuma brought the recordings on a pen drive and took them with him. Kurt Sansone
17:10 Brincat: “To tell you the truth I barely believed him [about the recordings]... why would you record a friend? I asked him to come to my house to listen to some of them, just to be certain that they existed. All I heard was low voices and rustling. I couldn't get what was being said.” Kurt Sansone
17:08 Yorgen Fenech shakes his head and speaks to his lawyers. Kurt Sansone
17:07 Brincat: “Melvin had refused to go abroad with Yorgen Fenech after the murder as he feared that he would be murdered whilst abroad. ‘Thrown under a car’, were his exact words.” Kurt Sansone
17:06 Brincat adds that Theuma was afraid of lawyers with political connections because of Schembri's involvement. Kurt Sansone
17:05 Brincat: “Melvin told me that Yorgen was a friend of Keith Schembri, who was helping him in the case. Melvin had never spoken to Schembri aside from twice, over a job.” Kurt Sansone
17:03 Brincat: "He was scared of lawyers because of politics. Lawyers would talk to lawyers. Theuma was offered a lawyer tal-Labour and he said that he didn't want one of those... he wanted Simon Busuttil, Jason Azzopardi, or Karol Aquilina." Kurt Sansone
17:02 Arnaud: “Did he have a lawyer?” Kurt Sansone
17:02 Arnaud asks what Melvin planned to do after the pardon. "He would go revealing things," Brincat replies. Kurt Sansone
17:01 Asked why Theuma would threaten suicide, Brincat says that Melvin was depressed at having to collect money and not finding Yorgen. He then developed a lot of obsessions. Kurt Sansone
16:57 Brincat is explaining that Melvin had changed as a person after the murder. He had been a happy person before, but became depressed and paranoid afterwards. Kurt Sansone
16:57 Brincat says that from that day onwards, Theuma’s visits would be sporadic, usually asking him to translate words in newspaper articles from English to Maltese for him. Kurt Sansone
16:56 Theuma was afraid that if he didn't buy the binoculars and the dog they would reveal his involvement, Brincat tells the court. Kurt Sansone
16:55 Brincat says that Melvin would stop and return to his senses when he was told such things. Kurt Sansone
16:55 Brincat: "I told him that at the end of the day he don't know if Yorgen was talking to Keith." Kurt Sansone
16:54 Yorgen Fenech laughs and comments to his lawyer. Kurt Sansone
16:54 “The money Melvin gathered, he would pass on to the Degiorgio brother outside, not the Degiorgios in prison. It was someone on the outside. The money was needed sometimes for lawyers, other times for bail,” Brincat says. Kurt Sansone
16:52 Arnaud asks whether this was after the murder and the need for more money. Kurt Sansone
16:51 "I remember the day he told me that Koħħu was talking - the first time he was talking, not now because people get confused. He told me that this Koħħu thing had already gone through Cabinet. I didn't believe him." Kurt Sansone
16:49 Brincat says Theuma would tell him that he had paid money out of his own pocket. The money was needed for various reasons, he adds - one time for a binocular, another time for a dog. Kurt Sansone
16:48 Brincat says Theuma did as he told him and went to Yorgen Fenech. “The proof is from Melvin to Degiorgio, but from Melvin and above, what evidence is there? I thought that if he went to the police he wouldn’t get any pardons. Yorgen is a strong man, well connected... I don't know how pardons work but my opinion was that he wouldn't get a pardon.” Kurt Sansone
16:43 Brincat tells the court that Theuma then told him that he had the recordings. “I told him to go to Yorgen and give him a copy. He wanted to go to the archbishop. I told him what is he going to do, the bishop? Pass them on to the police?” Kurt Sansone
16:42 Brincat continues: “I started thinking that because Yorgen had a lot of contacts... I know his father, his uncle is-Sur Ray, from Marsa... I told him that he should stop and calm down. I told him that he was going down an alley and will not be able to leave it." Kurt Sansone
16:40 “I remember that Melvin told me that he had been sent by Yorgen Fenech to the Degiorgios to get them to plant the bomb,” Brincat says. Kurt Sansone
16:40 The accused, Yorgen Fenech, laughs as he hears the man's testimony. Kurt Sansone
16:39 Brincat recalls what Theuma told him: “’They're coming for me, I don't want to waste time’.” Kurt Sansone
16:38 Brincat says that Theuma wanted to run away. “I told him to wait a second as I hadn't processed the information yet. He [Theuma] was like a madman, shaking.” Kurt Sansone
16:37 “Theuma was obsessed with getting his information out before Koħħu as he would miss out on the pardon,” Brincat tells the court. Kurt Sansone
16:36 Brincat cannot recall the date but said Theuma had a recording. Kurt Sansone
16:36 Brincat recounts how one day Melvin Theuma called him in the morning and said he needed to speak to him. “He came to my house. He told me don't shout at me, but I'm involved in this case.” Kurt Sansone
16:35 "I can tell you how I ended up in it," Brincat tells the court. Kurt Sansone
16:34 Inspector Keith Arnaud asks him what he knows about the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Kurt Sansone
16:34 Brincat says he has known Theuma for approximately 30 years. Kurt Sansone
16:33 The court is back in session. Edwin Brincat has been located. He tells the court that he is an auto dealer and that he knows Melvin Theuma for a long time. Kurt Sansone
16:16 We are still waiting in court for information as to whether the police have located Edwin Brincat, known as il-Ġojja. The magistrate ordered that Brincat be brought under arrest to testify in court. Kurt Sansone
15:12 The magistrate retires to her chambers to await the man’s arrival. The sitting is suspended. Massimo Costa
15:12 Prosecuting inspector Keith Arnaud says Edwin Brincat told him, via his lawyer Matthew Brincat, that he had a problem making the sitting this morning. The court, although noting that the man was not formally notified, deplores the fact that the witness had left the court building without the court's permission. In the circumstances, the court ordered that the man be brought under arrest, now. Massimo Costa
15:08 The prosecution says it did not have a positive notification for Brincat. The defence, however, is insisting that he was spotted outside the court hall. Massimo Costa
15:06 The court now summons Edwin Brincat, known as il-Ġojja’ - a confidant of Theuma’s - to the witness stand. Brincat however appears to have left the court building. Massimo Costa
15:04 Defence lawyer Charles Mercieca ends his cross-examination of Johann Cremona. Cremona now steps off the witness stand and leaves the courtroom. Massimo Costa
15:00 Cremona is unable to say whether Theuma had spoken to Lawrence Cutajar about the pardon he was eventually given. Massimo Costa
14:59 Cremona says that when Theuma had mentioned that he would be raided by police, Cremona had asked him whether Lawrence Cutajar had spoken to Theuma. Theuma would reply in the positive, Cremona says. “To get information, he (Theuma) would ask for favours from the police commissioner,” Cremona tells the court. Massimo Costa
14:57 Theuma, Cremona says, would mention Keith Schembri. He would ask Cremona to call Kenneth Camilleri to check if there were any problems. Massimo Costa
14:56 The money laundering case was a major burden on Theuma’s mind, Cremona says. He was also burdened when it came to money issues and about the murder case. Massimo Costa
14:55 Cremona tells the court that Theuma had told him that he would not go to prison for money laundering. Theuma, Cremona says, had told him “If I am arrested for money launderings, I will reveal information (nikxef).” Massimo Costa
14:53 Defence lawyer Charles Mercieca asks Cremona what Theuma did for a living. “He was a taxi driver and lotto operator. Before that he used to lend money… usury,” Cremona replies. He says he was also told that Theuma was involved in buying property, but that he didn’t know the full value of this. Massimo Costa
14:51 Melvin Theuma was using Fenech for the money, Cremona tells the court. Massimo Costa
14:48 Cremona tells the court that he had felt very confident that Yorgen Fenech wasn’t involved in the murder. “I was so confident that it wasn’t Yorgen Fenech that I had told [inspector] Keith Arnaud in my statement that it ‘certaintly was not (Fenech)’,” Cremona says. Massimo Costa
14:44 Cremona continues describing how he was caught in the middle. "It was a great burden on me." "I would never say anything against my business partner,” he adds. Massimo Costa
14:43 Cremona tells the court of the effect Theuma had started to have on him. “I felt I was caught in a net by him (Theuma)… I spent a long time unable to sleep.” Massimo Costa
14:42 Cremona says that Kenneth Camilleri had never mentioned Yorgen Fenech, and the witness understood that the two didn’t know each other. “Kenneth never spoke to me about Yorgen, or vice versa,” Cremona says. Massimo Costa
14:41 Lawyer Marion Camilleri asks Johann Cremona about the first meeting between him, Kenneth Camilleri and Melvin Theuma, which took place in Żurrieq. Kenneth Camilleri knew Cremona because they were neighbours and he was a friend of his father’s, Cremona explains. Cremona says that, during the second meeting between the three, Theuma had started swearing at one point, and left. The following day Theuma had called Cremona up, asking to meet Kenneth Camilleri again. Massimo Costa
14:30 Jason Azzopardi’s cross-examination of Cremona has ended. Fenech’s defence lawyer Marion Camilleri prepares to cross-examine the witness. Massimo Costa
14:29 Asked to elaborate about his aforementioned meeting with Keith Schembri, Cremona says only he and Schembri were present for the meeting which last 45 minutes to an hour. “It was about slot machines in bars… and then he talked about Yorgen.” Cremona says Fenech had been going through a difficult time and that Schembri had been worried about him. Massimo Costa
14:24 Cremona tells the court that Theuma had demanded that he send a message to Fenech to tell him that Theuma had recordings of their conversations. Cremona says he was made to send the message by Theuma, and that he hadn’t done it because he wanted to reveal something. Fenech had a few weeks later spoken to Cremona as if nothing had happened, the witness says. Massimo Costa
14:21 Asked whether he knew if Theuma had managed to speak to Mario Degiorgio about Yorgen Fenech, Cremona confirms that there was in fact never any contact between Mario Degiorgio and Fenech. Massimo Costa
14:19 Cremona tells the court that Schembri was worried about not being able to speak to Fenech. “Tell him I need to speak to him,” Cremona says Schembri had told him. Massimo Costa
14:19 Cremona continues recounting events. He says that in 2019, Keith Schembri had sent for him. They had met and spoken about gaming. Before Cremona left, Schembri asked him about Yorgen Fenech. “Why isn’t he (Fenech) talking to me,” Schembri asked, Cremona says. Cremona says Schembri had asked such a a question since he (Cremona) was Fenech’s business partner. In response, Cremona told Schembri “Not even I can get through to him.” Massimo Costa
14:15 The line of questioning now turns to the photo of il-Biglee which Cremona says Fenech sent to him. The photo was sent from Fenech to Cremona using the encrypted messaging service app Signal, Cremona says. The man in the photo was bald, and Cremona couldn’t make out his stature because it was a small photo. He had before that time never heard of or seen the person. In the message, Fenech told Cremona “This is the man who was [the middleman] between Chris Cardona and the killers.” Massimo Costa
14:12 At this point, Yorgen Fenech whispers something into his lawyer’s ear. Massimo Costa
14:11 Azzopardi asks Cremona whether Cutajar was effectively negotiating with Theuma on when he was going to be arrested. “Exactly,” Cremona replies, “Theuma said he had been given three types of information: one about the police raid on him related to money laundering, the second was that Europol knew of the recordings, and the third was the playing of the recordings to Cutajar.” Massimo Costa
14:09 Asked by Azzopardi whether Theuma had told him (Cremona) that he was being helped by Lawrence Cutajar, Cremona confirms that he had. “Theuma had told me that [Cutajar] had told him he was being investigated because of money laundering.” Massimo Costa
14:08 Azzopardi asks Cremona whether Melvin Theuma had told him that he knew that the Degiorgio brothers had asked Cardona for bail money. “Not for bail, for the jury. €400,000 for the jury,” replies the witness. Massimo Costa
14:07 Cremona also tells the court that Theuma had told him that Mario Degiorgio had been told by David Gatt that Cardona would kill the hitmen unless they left him alone. Massimo Costa
14:03 “Melvin Theuma had told me that Mario Degiorgio had told him that Chris Cardona and David Gatt had to make €400,000 available by the time of the jury [of the hitmen in the Caruana Galizia murder],” Cremona says Massimo Costa
14:00 Jason Azzopardi beings cross-examining Johann Cremona. Azzopardi asks if Cremona had been spoken to by the police last year. “Yes, three times, in November 2019,” replies Cremona. Asked who was present, he says prosecuting inspectors Keith Arnaud were there on the first occasion, on another it was Arnaud and another constable, and on the remaining occasion Arnaud, Zahra and former police chief Lawrence Cutajar were present. Massimo Costa
13:58 After considering the arguments from both sides, the court rules that once the parte civile had declared that it was not going to produce the witness as its own, it is allowed to make direct questions in cross-examination. Massimo Costa
13:58 Replying to the defence’s argument, Caruana Galizia family lawyer Jason Azzopardi replies that the parte civile had carried out the examination of witnesses in the compilation of the Degiorgio brothers, and that "this is basic procedural law.” Massimo Costa
13:54 Defence lawyer Marion Camilleri adds that the point of the law regarding this matter was not to allow the parte civile to ask the questions that the prosecution couldn’t. Only the defence could make direct questions to the witness in cross-examination, argues Mercieca. Massimo Costa
13:50 It is expected that Johann Cremona will now be cross-examined. One of Fenech’s defence lawyers, Charles Mercieca, makes a legal argument about the parte civile in the case and its right to cross-examine the witness. He argues that the cross-examination should only be on the testimony of the witness. Massimo Costa
13:35 The courtroom has reopened. The press and public file back in to their seats, waiting for the magistrate to emerge from her chambers and the accused to be brought up from the court lockup. Massimo Costa
13:11 It is understood that the recording is being heard in private because third parties, who are being investigated, are mentioned. Massimo Costa
11:47 The media have been asked to leave the courtroom. Massimo Costa
11:42 The remainder of the questions which will be posed to Cremona have to do with a recording which must be played to the witness. The court receives a request for the testimony in this regard to be heard behind closed doors. The request is upheld. Massimo Costa
11:38 Cremona tells the court that he was so keen to get Theuma off his back that he had once invented that a possible raid was going to take place on Theuma’s Marsa farmhouse. This was made up, Cremona says. Massimo Costa
11:35 Cremona says Theuma had wanted Mario Degiorgio and Yorgen Fenech to meet with Keith Schembri. The witness says he doesn’t know why Theuma wanted to set up such a meeting. Massimo Costa
11:31 Cremona says Theuma once told him he was planning on going to “Uncle Ray” (Yorgen Fenech’s uncle, Ray Fenech) for money, but that Cremona had talked him out of it. Asked to elaborate about Ray Fenech, Cremona says that Ray didn’t actually have to do with anything. Massimo Costa
11:28 Prosecuting inspector Keith Arnaud now asks Cremona what Melvin Theuma wanted from him, in terms of his persistence to speak to him. “He would talk about everyone. He would ask to speak to Yorgen. I don’t know if he ever noticed that I never helped him in anything… but when Yorgen wasn’t available [Theuma] would turn to Kenneth [Camilleri],” Cremona tells the court Massimo Costa
11:26 Cremona’s questioning continues. He now tells the court that Yorgen Fenech had once sent him a photo of a certain “Il-Biglee.” Asked why Fenech had sent him such a photo, Cremona says he didn’t know, but that Fenech had told him (Cremona) that il-Biglee was the middleman between Cardona and Alfred Degiorgio (il-Fulu). Massimo Costa
11:22 “Whenever I saw him coming in to the office, I'd get a pang of fright as I’d have to spend two hours listening to him talk. When I didn't let him in once, he found me in Valletta,” Cremona says Massimo Costa
11:21 Cremona now tells the court about the annoyance Theuma was causing him. “He would come and keep repeating the same thing to me every day. He didn’t even give me time to stay with my sick father before he died,” the witness tells the court, his voice breaking with emotion. Massimo Costa
11:14 The subject turns to the raid on Melvin Theuma by the police. Cremona says he had once, prior to the raid, heard Theuma swearing on the phone to someone, saying “Don’t you know I have lotto on Sunday - why are you raiding me then?” Massimo Costa
11:13 Cremona says Theuma’s testimony in court had flustered him, and that the gaming authorities had told him that he would lose his operating license should the allegations made in court turn out to be true. Massimo Costa
11:12 Theuma, Cremona tells the court, would become depressed whenever news stories about the Caruana Galizia murder would be broadcast. Massimo Costa
11:11 Cremona says that, when Theuma would be unable to get through to Yorgen Fenech, he would speak to Cremona instead. Cremona would in turn pretend to have spoken to Kenneth Camilleri about money, and would tell Theuma that Camilleri had refused the request. Massimo Costa
11:10 Cremona elaborates about his relationship with Fenech. He says that, although Fenech was a business partner, Cremona dealt mostly with lower ranking people in the business. Fenech, Cremona says, was often abroad, visiting the UK or Dubai, amongst other places. Massimo Costa
11:09 Cremona says that Theuma had asked him to tell Yorgen Fenech that he (Theuma) had recorded their conversations. It appears Cremona had been unable to tell Fenech this as Fenech didn’t usually like answering his phone. Massimo Costa
11:06 Cremona now displays in court a sealed envelope which Theuma had given him. The envelope is opened - it appears to contain a letter about a loan, with a BOV letterhead. Cremona says Theuma said he had been refused a loan by the bank, with the bank manager having been unable to explain why the loan had been refused. Massimo Costa
11:04 Theuma, Cremona says, told him that he had been informed by Lawrence Cutajar that he (Theuma) was being investigated for money laundering. Cremona says that Cutajar also informed Theuma that Europol were aware of the secret recordings Theuma had made, and that Theuma had also played the recordings to Cutajar Massimo Costa
11:03 Asked whether he had ever spoken to anyone else about these issues, Cremona says he had once confided in a priest. Asked why he had not spoken to anyone else, Cremona says “It was a big thing, and it’s not my issue and I can’t rely on what Melvin used to say. Also, Theuma knew Lawrence Cutajar - if that were the case, I couldn’t go about revealing people’s connections with the case.” Massimo Costa
11:00 “I would do everything to calm [Theuma] down. I would say anything, even something against my business partner [Yorgen Fenech] to calm him down,” Cremona says Massimo Costa
10:59 Cremona’s questioning continues. He says that Mario Degiorgio had told Theuma to speak to someone about Cardona. Cremona says he had advised Theuma to not get involved. At this stage, Theuma was depressed and paranoid, Cremona says Massimo Costa
10:58 Inspector Arnaud now asks Cremona about mobile phones the police had discovered in the sea. At this point Cremona asks to testify behind closed doors. In connection with this, it is explained to the court that a recording would be played behind closed doors. This will happen towards the end of today’s sitting, however. Massimo Costa
10:56 Cremona says Theuma had told him that he had heard from Mario Degiorgio that David Gatt had said that if the Degiorgio didn’t keep quiet after being granted bail, Cardona would kill them. Massimo Costa
10:53 Theuma, Cremona says, would mention Chris Cardona and David Gatt several times. Massimo Costa
10:51 Cremona says that on one occasion, Theuma had asked him to tell Kenneth Camilleri that he (Theuma) needed €50,000. Cremona says that he had told Theuma that Camilleri had refused to speak to Keith Schembri about the money. In reality, Cremona says, he had never actually spoken to Camilleri about Theuma’s request for the money. Massimo Costa
10:48 Cremona’s testimony continues. He tells the court that Melvin Theuma told him that Yorgen Fenech has asked him to murder Daphne. Theuma had later told Cremona that Fenech had at one point asked him (Theuma) to halt the murder plan. Fenech had nonetheless given the Degiorgio brothers €30,000 to avoid looking bad for halting the plan to murder Daphne. Massimo Costa
10:46 Eventually, Cremona tells the court, he had started to try to avoid Theuma. He says that he would have to start inventing stories to tell the insistent Theuma. Theuma, Cremona says, would otherwise bombard him with text message saying he was going to commit suicide. “At one point, I made a fake contact on my phone with the named ‘Kenneth Camilleri’. This way I could tell Theuma that Camilleri was not answering me when he requested to speak to him,” Cremona says Massimo Costa
10:43 Theuma, Cremona says, would speak to Lawrence Cutajar about his money laundering problem. Massimo Costa
10:43 Cremona says that he never knew whether what Theuma used to tell him was the truth. He says he was aware that Theuma had some form of a relationship with former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar. Massimo Costa
10:39 Theuma used to look terrified and would be drenched in sweat, Cremona says. He says that Theuma used to try to reach Fenech every week to ask for €50,000, money which he needed for the Degiorgio brothers. But Fenech wouldn’t pick up the phone. Massimo Costa
10:38 Cremona continues recounting the chain of events to the court. He says that, around a month later, Melvin Theuma started bringing more people into the picture when telling him (Cremona) what was going on. Theuma started mentioning Chris Cardona and David Gatt. “I want to be clear - I never mentioned Chris Cardona and David Gatt as being involved - I was always Melvin Theuma telling me these things,” Cremona says. Massimo Costa
10:34 Cremona says that, a couple of days after the incident outside parliament, he had asked Theuma what had been going on. Theuma told him that “Keith Schembri and Yorgen Fenech betrayed me.” Massimo Costa
10:31 Cremona says that, when he asked Theuma what was happening, Theuma replied that “This guy came and promised them bail… Kenneth had promised bail to the Degiorgio brothers.” Cremona tells the court that this was the first occasion he had heard the Degiorgio brothers mentioned, and that this has shocked him. Cremona goes on to tell the court that he had confronted Camilleri on the matter, and was told that Theuma had asked him (Camilleri) to help with getting bail for the Degiorgio brothers. Massimo Costa
10:29 On another day, Cremona says he was in Valletta having a coffee when he received a call from Kenneth Camilleri asking to meet up. They then met outside the parliament building, were Cremona saw that Camilleri and Theuma were talking. Cremona says he overheard them saying “He arranged for their bail.” Massimo Costa
10:27 “The next day I was at my office and in the 7:30 to 8:00 in the morning, and Kenneth turned up. About 45 minutes later, Melvin knocked on the door and said he needed to speak to Kenneth,” Cremona tells the court. “The two were talking near my office door, about 55 to 60 metres away from the office.” Cremona says he heard Theuma blaspheme at Camilleri. They subsequently told Cremona they were leaving. Massimo Costa
10:25 Cremona says that, at one point, Camilleri moved a step away from Theuma and spoke on the phone. Subsequently, Camilleri told Cremona “let’s go.” Cremona says he didn’t ask why they were leaving, because it wasn’t his business. Massimo Costa
10:23 Cremona and Camilleri eventually arrived where Theuma was. At this point, Camilleri and Theuma engaged in conversation, with Cremona staying some distance away across the road watching, and unable to hear what was being said. Massimo Costa
10:21 Johann Cremona remarks that it wasn’t usual for Kenneth Camilleri to call on him - they hadn’t spoken in a long time. Massimo Costa
10:20 Cremona says that in June 2018, Kenneth Camilleri (a former OPM official under Joseph Muscat) had come to him and asked to speak to Melvin Theuma. Cremona tells the court that he knew Camilleri through his father. “Kenneth has called and we met up and drove to where Melvin was. I called Melvin on the way and informed him that someone wanted to talk to him,” Cremona says Massimo Costa
10:18 “The contact I had [with Theuma] would be that he would pass by to collect the rent from me every two months,” Cremona says. He tells the court that he had no further contact with Theuma. Massimo Costa
10:18 Cremona tells the court that Melvin Theuma used to rent a shop to his and Fenech’s company. This was the way Theuma and Cremona had met. Massimo Costa
10:17 Fenech, Cremona tells the court, had been his business partner since 2011. Fenech took care of accounts and IT and Cremona took care of operations, he says. Massimo Costa
10:15 Cremona is administered his oath, and prosecuting inspector Keith Arnaud starts his questioning. Arnaud asks Cremona what his job is. “It’s in gaming,” Cremona answers. He says part of his gaming operation is run from Portomaso, while another, a workshop with an office, is run from Qormi. Massimo Costa
10:13 Although no criminal proceedings against him are planned, the court cautions Cremona that he has the right to remain silent if he is asked any questions which might incriminate him. Massimo Costa
10:12 The prosecution declares that Johann Cremona, who will be giving testimony, is not a suspect in the case and that no action was planned against him. Cremona enters the courtroom. Massimo Costa
10:11 It appears that the accused (Fenech) had filed an application on Friday, but that the court only received it this morning. Massimo Costa
10:06 The magistrate has entered the courtroom, and the sitting begins. Massimo Costa
10:04 We are waiting for Magistrate Rachel Montebello to emerge from her chambers. Massimo Costa
10:02 Parte civile lawyer Jason Azzopardi and Daphne’s widower, Peter Caruana Galizia, are also here. Massimo Costa
10:01 The small courtroom is slowly filling up. Aside from a large number of reporters, there are family members of Caruana Galizia and members of the accused's family. Yorgen Fenech is talking with his lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran. Prosecuting inspector Arnaud is discussing something lawyer Charles Mercieca, also on Fenech’s defence team. Massimo Costa
09:59 Good morning. We're back in court for the continuation of the compilation of evidence in the case against Yorgen Fenech. Massimo Costa

Yorgen Fenech’s business associate has said in court that Fenech had once named “il-Biglee” as the middleman between Chris Cardona and one of the hitmen in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder.

Johann Cremona, Fenech’s business partner in the gaming sector, was testifying on Monday in the compilation of evidence against the business magnate, who is accused of masterminding the journalist’s slaying.

Cremona said that Fenech once sent him a photo of il-Biglee - the nickname of Anthony Chetcuti, a canvasser for Cardona - and told him that he was the middleman between the former economy minister and Alfred Degiorgio, known as il-Fulu.

Chetcuti had been mentioned in a sitting earlier this month by Melvin Theuma, the self-confessed middleman between Fenech and the three men - brothers Alfred Degiorgio and George Degiorigio (iċ-Ċiniż), and Vince Muscat (il-Koħħu) - who are accused of planting the bomb which killed Caruana Galizia.

Theuma had claimed Chetcuti was the intermediary through which Cardona passed on money to Alfred Degiorgio to assassinate Caruana Galizia. Cardona has since strongly denied the claims, dismissing them as “nonsense, based on lies.”

While Cremona’s statements under oath in court today back those made by Theuma, the source for the information remains Fenech in both cases.

As he was being cross-examined by Caruana Galizia family lawyer Jason Azzopardi, Cremona said Theuma had told him that Mario Degiorgio (brother to Alfred and George Degiorgio) informed him that Chris Cardona and David Gatt, a lawyer and former police officer, were to make €400,000 available by the time of the jury of the three hitmen.

Cremona also told the court that Theuma had told him that Mario Degiorgio had been told by David Gatt that Cardona would kill the hitmen unless they left him alone.

Former police chief told middleman he was being investigated

Cremona said that former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar had informed Theuma that the police were investigating him for money laundering.

Cutajar, Cremona said, had also told Theuma that Europol were aware of the secret recordings he had made of conversations with Fenech, and that Cutajar had even listened to the recordings before the middleman was arrested.

Asked by Azzopardi on whether Theuma had ever spoken of the help he was getting from Lawrence Cutajar, Cremona reiterated that the ex-police commissioner had informed him (Theuma) that the police were investigating him for money laundering.

Cremona also confirmed that Cutajar was effectively negotiating with Theuma on when he was going to be arrested.

Cremona said that Theuma had told him that, should he be arrested on money laundering charges, he would reveal information (nikxef) about the murder.

Cremona painted a picture of Theuma as a man who was “depressed and paranoid” after the murder, frequently badgering him, while in a “terrified” state and “drenched in sweat”, when he was unable to get through to Fenech directly.

The witness told the court that Kenneth Camilleri - an ex-official in the Office of the Prime Minister who worked as part of Joseph Muscat’s security detail - had asked him to arrange a meeting with Theuma. The three subsequently met on three occasions.

Cremona said that Theuma had told him that Camilleri had promised bail to the Degiorgio brothers. However, after confronting Camilleri about the matter, Cremona said Camilleri had told him that it was Theuma who has asked for help with getting bail for the Degiorgios.

A couple of days after the meetings with Camilleri, Cremona said Theuma had told him that “Keith Schembri and Yorgen Fenech betrayed me.”

Cremona said that Camilleri had never mentioned Fenech, and that it was his understanding that the two did not know each other.

The media were asked to leave for a significant part of Cremona’s testimony. The court ordered the press to leave so that a recording could be played behind closed doors. It is understood that the recording involved third parties who are being investigated.

Another witness - Edwin Brincat, known as il-Ġojja, is also expected to testify, however, despite having been spotted in the court corridors, he was not located in the building when summoned by the magistrate. The magistrate has ordered his immediate arrest and for him to be brought to the courtroom. She suspended the sitting and retired to her chambers pending his arrival.

Earlier

Johann Cremona, Fenech's associate in the gaming industry, will be giving testimony today. 

Cremona is the director of Best Play Gaming, a company based at Portomaso in which Fenech owned shares.

In the previous hearing of the case last Friday, Melvin Theuma - the self confessed middleman in the journalist's assassination, who turned state witness - claimed in court that Cremona and Fenech had told him that former economy minister Chris Cardona was involved in the murder.

The court sitting will be starting at 10am.

Magistrate Rachel Montebello is hearing the compilation of evidence against Fenech.

The defence lawyers are Marion Camilleri and Gianluca Caruana Curran.

The prosecution is being led by inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra, assisted by the Attorney General.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia are appearing parte civile for the Caruana Galizia family.

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