Before arrest, Yorgen Fenech told uncle: ‘Ivan told me because he was in the newsroom’

In hearing on libel suit, Caruana Galizia assassination inspector reads WhatsApp texts from Yorgen Fenech talking about tip-off from Times newsroom on eve of his arrest

Alleged mastermind: Yorgen Fenech spoke with his uncle about a tip-off from the Times newsroom on the eve of his arrest
Alleged mastermind: Yorgen Fenech spoke with his uncle about a tip-off from the Times newsroom on the eve of his arrest

The lead investigator in the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination has told a court that alleged mastermind Yorgen Fenech sent his uncle a WhatsApp text on the eve of his arrest, saying an ‘Ivan’ from the Times of Malta had tipped him off on the newspaper’s heightened activity at the Portomaso marina.

According to the text sent out on 19 November, 2019 at 7pm, the Tumas CEO had communicated with his uncle Ray Fenech about interest from The Times on some unspecified event at Portomaso, where Fenech had his boat moored.

Arnaud was testifying in a defamation case filed by sacked Times journalist Ivan Camilleri against MaltaToday – one of four cases – over a report on his dismissal from the newspaper. Camilleri was sacked the day after Arnaud told the compilation of evidence against Fenech that the Tumas CEO had been tipped off by a certain ‘Ivan from the Times’.

Consulting his notes in court today, in which Arnaud read out the WhatsApp texts, the inspector said Yorgen Fenech told his uncle: ‘Portomaso Marina hawn Ivan tat-Times’ (There’s Ivan from the Times at the Portomaso Marina). The Times at the time employed two journalists named Ivan, last names Camilleri and Martin.

In actual fact, it was the Times photographer Matthew Mirabelli, who was asked by his editor to canvass the marina at 7pm on the eve of Fenech’s arrest.

In a second text, Fenech precised that ‘Ivan told me because he was in the newsroom and heard them talk’. (Ivan qalli jien għax kien newsroom u semagħhom jghidu.)

In a third text to his uncle Ray Fenech, he said: “He did say they had a tip-off from some apartment here” – referring to someone alerting The Times to movements at Portomaso Marina.

The events relate to the eve of Fenech’s arrest as he tried evading arrest by leaving Malta on his boat, which escape was discussed on the texts exchanged between Fenech and his uncle.

Previously testifying on 19 December 2019 in the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, Arnaud had replied to a question from in parte civile lawyer Jason Azzopardi that Fenech had namedropped a Times journalist alerting him of the newspaper’s interest in him, on the eve of his arrest. The next day on 20 December, The Times sacked Ivan Camilleri.

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