Freezing order on Yorgen Fenech’s massive wealth is relaxed

Court grants murder suspect access to shares and immovable property he inherited

Yorgen Fenech
Yorgen Fenech

A court has granted Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech access to millions of euros worth of shares and immovable property which he had inherited, ostensibly as they are not the proceeds of crime.

This was the subject of a decree issued on June 18 by Magistrate Rachel Montebello following a request by Fenech’s lawyers.

“The freezing order is intended to preserve and seize the profits from criminal activity, but in this case, the prosecution is accusing him [Fenech] of financing a crime, not making money out of it,” a member of Fenech’s legal team told the MaltaToday.

The inherited assets pre-date the crimes of which he is accused and had nothing to do with the case, said the lawyer. “The request was not to lift the freezing order, but only to vary it. All his family’s assets are frozen and he’s not accused of a financial crime. Besides possibly being anti-constitutional, what criminal profits are you going to preserve by doing so?”

The court upheld the request and ordered that “the specific shares and immovable property acquired… through causa mortis shall no longer be affected by this freezing order.”

Fenech, currently being held on remand at Corradino Prison, stands accused of being the mastermind behind the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Caruana Galizia was murdered in a car bombing outside her home in Bidnija on 16 October 2017. Three other men, Alfred Degiorgio, George Degiorgio and Vincent Muscat, are accused of planting and remotely detonating the bomb, which was placed underneath the seat of Caruana Galizia’s rental car.

Fenech was arrested in late November 2019, whilst trying to leave the Portomaso marina on his yacht, the Gio, less than 24 hours after a pardon was announced for the middleman in the murder, Melvin Theuma, in return for Theuma’s cooperation in the murder investigation. The courts have so far denied multiple requests for bail.

Recently an investigation by Reuters discovered that Fenech’s 17 Black had made a profit when the state-run energy company Enemalta bought a wind farm in Montenegro in 2015 after negotiations and several trips to Montenegro led by then energy minister Konrad Mizzi.

17 Black, an offshore company owned by Fenech, lent money to another company which bought the wind farm and then sold it to Enemalta within two weeks at three times the original price.