Caruana Galizia public inquiry: Delia says ‘no one tried to influence him’ in his years as PN leader

The public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia continues this afternoon with testimony from PN leader Adrian Delia and businessman Pierre Portelli 

Caruana Galizia was murdered in a car bomb just outside her Bidnija home on 16 October 2017
Caruana Galizia was murdered in a car bomb just outside her Bidnija home on 16 October 2017

Neither the police nor the magistrate leading the inquiry into allegations surrounding Adrian Delia’s alleged money laundering in Soho had sent for him, the former PN leader told the Daphne public inquiry.

Delia told the panel of three judges that he had been hurt by a series of stories that Daphne Caruana Galizia wrote in the summer of 2017, which implied that he had been involved in money laundering.

“This hurt me a lot. I had been an advocate for 25 years and never had any mention of abuse,” he said.

Asked about one of the most memorable public incidents between him and the murdered journalist, when he used the phrase "biċċa blogger" to describe her, Delia said: "This was one of the things which remained in the public consciousness… I had felt offended."

"Once, twice, three times I had apologised for this and it is something I regret saying," Delia insisted, adding later that he would still defend her right to write what she wrote, despite disagreeing with her.

Asked about the Panama Papers, Delia said that "certainly it is not for me to eulogise the courage of Caruana Galizia in fighting big fights... I mention one that I am also involved in: Vitals... Not everyone has the courage to pursue such stories."

But asked why he didn’t pursue similar court proceedings to his Vitals court case when the stories on 17 Black emerged, Delia said the two circumstances were not the same.

Delia also strenuously denied there ever having been a €50,000 donation to the PN from Yorgen Fenech, who is accused of masterminding the murder of Caruana Galizia, despite the Times of Malta having published chats allegedly showing this having been the case.

He said that the chats may have taken place but that "nothing special" was said in them. "But I don't have them," he explained, as he had deleted them.

Delia had visited Fenech’s ranch once, as part of an event with many other people present, he said. "What I can say is that there is no friendship, never was friendship with Yorgen Fenech…no friendship, no intimacy, no relationship with Fenech," he replied.

The public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia on Wednesday also heard Pierre Portelli, the former head of media at the PN.

The public inquiry is tasked with, amongst other things, determining whether the State did all it could to prevent the murder from happening.

Caruana Galizia was murdered in a car bomb just outside her Bidnija home on 16 October 2017.

The inquiry is led by retired judge Michael Mallia and includes former chief justice Joseph Said Pullicino and Judge Abigail Lofaro.

17:04 That’s it for today. Thank you for following. Karl Azzopardi
17:01 The Public Inquiry will continue on Friday 12 March at 8:30 am. Karl Azzopardi
17:01 The sitting will continue behind closed doors. Karl Azzopardi
16:58 Portelli: “In March 2019 there was a donation made by Tumas Group in November which was not collected. Me being desperate to pay my salary bill I had contacted Yorgen Fenech to pay it up. I would not use it to directly pay salaries however. The company Media.Link would issue the salaries.” Karl Azzopardi
16:55 Portelli: “Look at the Times of Malta, in Lawrence Gonzi's time. Every Arriva bus crash was front page news. Now we know that Adrian Hilman was doing business with Keith Schembri who is Labour's right-hand man.” Karl Azzopardi
16:54 Portelli: “But at the time you'd go to a PN club and they would tell you to stop speaking about corruption because we had bothered everyone.” Karl Azzopardi
16:52 Every report on the PNs defeat said that it was arrogant and didn't listen to the people. But today everyone looks back and says "of course Simon Busuttil was right." Karl Azzopardi
16:52 Portelli observed that Tumas group was still operating. “The other projects were all operating so it wasn't true.” Karl Azzopardi
16:51 Yorgen Fenech had denied to Pierre Portelli that 17 Black is his. He had told him that the story was causing a lot of damage. Karl Azzopardi
16:50 No. he said, criticising what he said was the fact that Lovin Malta buried his reply to the allegation. “I only went to Yorgen Fenech's ranch with Adrian Delia once,” he said. Karl Azzopardi
16:48 Asked whether Delia ever asked him to organise a meeting with Yorgen Fenech. Karl Azzopardi
16:47 They were many in number because Fenech would send six messages to complete a sentence, he said. Karl Azzopardi
16:46 Judge Lofaro asks about his messages with Yorgen Fenech. Karl Azzopardi
16:46 Portelli: “We could never entertain the idea that David Casa not be elected. This apart from the professional relationship I had with Casa over the years.” Karl Azzopardi
16:44 “We had explained that if only Metsola and Casa would be elected only the party would suffer,” he says. Karl Azzopardi
16:44 Portelli: “Our surveys were showing that the only three who could be elected were Roberta Metsola, David Cassa and Frank Psaila in the MEP elections. The target of electing three was important so we couldn't do something to stop Casa from being elected much less pay for it as it would be a criminal act.” Karl Azzopardi
16:43 Portelli: “An internal inquiry to see if anything wrong had been done in the case of David Casa as well.” Karl Azzopardi
16:43 Portelli says he had written to all the party bodies that a Hillman style inquiry was needed on the €50,000 allegations. Karl Azzopardi
16:42 Portelli: “I wrote a rebuttal that very moment on my mobile on Facebook.” Karl Azzopardi
16:42 On the allegation of preventing Casa's re-election: “What I know is from the public domain. First David Thake made the allegation of the €50,000 and then said that Pierre Portelli and Kirsty Debono are friends of Yorgen Fenech.” Karl Azzopardi
16:41 Portelli: “The only silver lining to this horror story is that we cannot take things for granted.” Karl Azzopardi
16:41 I believe the politics, business and the media are too close in Malta, he says. Karl Azzopardi
16:41 "There are businessmen in politics and politicians in business," he said. PN media didn't want to listen, the PL media was always attacking me, Daphne and Simon. "The manoeuvre was clear, why defend Delia? Don't you think it was to divide the party?" Karl Azzopardi
16:40 Portelli: "I wanted to fight fire with fire and ended up with fire." Karl Azzopardi
16:40 Portelli: “One particular MP told me that they had seen a photograph of a white line on a sink and had told this MP that this was taken in the leader's office. I had told the MP to visit the office and look at the sink and see for herself that it wasn't the same sink." Karl Azzopardi
16:39 Portelli: "I was desperate. I decided to fight fire with fire. As desperate as I was. I turned onto Yorgen Fenech and told him there was a coup against the leader [Delia], do you have contacts at the Labour Party?" Karl Azzopardi
16:39 He pulls out three large files containing 130 stories leaked by Delia's critics to the media. Karl Azzopardi
16:38 It wasn't the first time that he would receive information from the Labour party, but had not passed it on to Medialink but had passed it on to independent media houses who told me that they had not received any replies to questions they sent. Karl Azzopardi
16:38 "It's not the first time that Yorgen Fenech leaked stories about people in the Labour party," Portelli says, and mentioned the story about James Piscopo. He is replying to a question on a story broken by Lovin Malta concerning a planted story on MZPN. Karl Azzopardi
16:27 He had spoken to the police at length about chats he had with Yorgen Fenech but was not given a copy of them as he was just a police witness. He had deleted them from his phone. Karl Azzopardi
16:26 That which I earned from the Tumas group, I issued the receipt for and deposited them with the party treasurer. Karl Azzopardi
16:25 “The relationship with Portelli soured after that,” he said. Karl Azzopardi
16:25 Portelli had said that he had heard of them but hadn't seen them. He had no intention of publishing them if he had them. He invited Schembri to publish his photographs "ha nnaddfu" (to clean). Karl Azzopardi
16:24 Schembri had offered to exchange them with sensitive pictures of PN personalities. Karl Azzopardi
16:24 He had then been introduced to Keith Schembri, who removed the battery from his blackberry and had told him that he had heard of sensitive photographs of Joseph Muscat which the PN had. Karl Azzopardi
16:23 In 2011, when Portelli was in the PN's administrative Council he had been called by a certain ‘Keith’. He had said he didn't know who Keith was. Karl Azzopardi
16:22 Portelli: “I don't usually file libel suits. I don't see why I have to stay going up to court. There was an inquiry set up. I was never called. But my name will be cleared then.” Karl Azzopardi
16:21 “Why didn't you file a libel suit?” the judges ask. "I don't usually file libels,” Portelli replies. Karl Azzopardi
16:21 Portelli: “It was not regular. I would not collect €20,000 a month from Yorgen Fenech. This is a barefaced lie." Karl Azzopardi
16:20 “Yes. Ray Fenech. Yorgen Fenech would be contacted.” Karl Azzopardi
16:19 Lofaro: “Had Tumas group given you funding?” Karl Azzopardi
16:18 Portelli: “Media.Link had a problem every month to pay wages. I had started restructuring and cost cutting but the money problem had remained." Karl Azzopardi
16:18 Portelli: "I had approached seven to nine companies which I identified as possible to do fundraising with. Among them was Tumas Group." Karl Azzopardi
16:17 Portelli: "I had approached seven to nine companies which I identified as possible to do fundraising with." Karl Azzopardi
16:17 Portelli: “In October 2017 we started looking at the financial situation and asked for a list of people who made donations. A committee led by the party treasurer started to get people to approach people they trusted.” Karl Azzopardi
16:16 Joseph Muscat had made the Labour Party not only of the working class but also the business class, he said. Karl Azzopardi
16:13 Portelli says he couldn't see what Daphne Caruana Galizia was seeing. Karl Azzopardi
16:13 The "bicca blogger" incident happened on Portelli's birthday when he was abroad, he said. He had tried to bridge the yawning chasm between Adrian Delia and Caruana Galizia, and had approached the editor of the Sunday Times and offered him a story where Delia was going to apologise for his comment, but the editor had then asked for Daphne's sister Corinne Vella's comment and the story went nowhere. Karl Azzopardi
16:12 Portelli: “The circumstances were impossible. The foremost journalist in Malta is murdered...after the MEP elections I felt it was so claustrophobic that I left.” Karl Azzopardi
16:09 Portelli: "When they killed Daphne, I remember telling Adrian that ther was no way they would let us work now." Karl Azzopardi
16:09 Portelli: “I joined Media.Link and found a lot of money problems. I abandoned my family and my companies to go for that job. The attacks, the personal attacks were so overwhelming.” Karl Azzopardi
16:08 Portelli: "In truth I was under a lot of pressure to go for General Secretary and he was the third leader to ask me to do this. I was sceptical, but after he won, I had proposed that his biggest problem as a leader was with his parliamentary group. So, I suggested Clyde Puli as Secretary General.” Karl Azzopardi
16:08 They had corresponded at length on the stories about Delia, he said. Karl Azzopardi
16:07 He was the only bridge between Delia and Caruana Galizia, he said. Karl Azzopardi
16:06 Portelli says he faced many obstacles. Daphne Caruana Galizia had told him that she didn't know Delia but that she hadn't heard good things about him. Karl Azzopardi
16:06 He went on unpaid leave from The Malta Independent and worked with Delia. Karl Azzopardi
16:05 He says that at the counting hall he was told that Adrian Delia was being touted as a candidate and asked him to support him. Karl Azzopardi
16:04 He says he was hurt by the Labour Party's win despite the Panama link. Karl Azzopardi
16:04 Portelli: “Had Maria Efimova given me the document before the election I would have published it, but because it wasn't her to give it to me after the election, I felt I shouldn't publish it and handed it to Magistrate Bugeja.” Karl Azzopardi
16:02 Portelli: "After the election, Magistrate Bugeja summoned me, he gave me 48 hours to bring the documents. I refused to reveal who showed me the documents on the iPad because a source is a source," he says, and adds that he will give additional information behind closed doors.” Karl Azzopardi
16:02 He had gone on a program by Saviour Balzan. "I felt I was ambushed as I was asked about the documents Efimova showed to the inquiry by Aaron Bugeja." Karl Azzopardi
15:59 Portelli: “She missed her mother's funeral and was unhappy about it.” Karl Azzopardi
15:59 Portelli: “She said that she had gone to the Russian embassy and had been warned that if she breached the magistrate's orders, she wouldn't be given a passport.” Karl Azzopardi
15:58 He had interviewed Efimova on camera, blurring her face during the recording. During this interview he had asked her several times to show the UBO documents. She had said that she couldn't because Bugeja had said that she couldn't. Karl Azzopardi
15:56 The Egrant story was a big one for TMI, he said, quoted by everyone. Karl Azzopardi
15:56 Soon after, Daphne Caruana Galizia had approached him about a whistle-blower - Maria Efimova - and would interview her and publish on The Malta Independent, he said. Karl Azzopardi
15:54 Obviously a total attack on me by the labour media, he said Karl Azzopardi
15:54 Portelli: “The 2017 general election was a stressful one. I had gone to magistrate Bugeja with the FIAU reports on 17 Black and Konrad Mizzi. I went alone and asked him to investigate.” Karl Azzopardi
15:52 The Malta Independent had lost a libel on a story about a contract to buy Electrogas' anchor over a mistake by the journalist and another due to libellous comments posted by readers, he said. Karl Azzopardi
15:50 He says The Malta Independent had a big backlash and threats of legal action on Electrogas power station stories. Karl Azzopardi
15:50 He goes on to say that on one occasion he was invited to ONE TV’s Karl Stagno Navarra’s programme to defend Daphne Caruana Galizia. Karl Azzopardi
15:47 George Fenech had mentioned that John Dalli had a family connection with the Fenechs. Karl Azzopardi
15:46 He would meet George Fenech and was introduced to his son Yorgen Fenech on one occasion. "The first time I spoke to him properly was when we were discussing the takeover of The Malta Independent." Karl Azzopardi
15:44 Dalli had always attacked him at every possible opportunity, Portelli said. “He had even filed a criminal complaint against me.” Karl Azzopardi
15:44 Portelli had worked with the Tumas group. In 2004 he had started a magazine at the airport and had gone to George Fenech to do work with him. "He warned me that day, telling me that 'John Dalli would not be pleased that we do business with you.' He wasn't the only person to tell me that." Karl Azzopardi
15:43 Fenech had said "ma tarax!” (as if) Karl Azzopardi
15:42 Pierre Portelli: "I had told Yorgen Fenech that if he wanted to buy the paper without Daphne Caruana Galizia he would be wasting his money as her magazine Taste and Flair was a major earner for it.” Karl Azzopardi
15:42 “Had he tied the takeover bid at The Malta Independent with Caruana Galizia's writings Karl Azzopardi
15:41 The board asks who was present at the Castille meeting. "Kurt Farrugia, Johann Grech and Matthew Carbone,” he says. Karl Azzopardi
15:41 Pierre Portelli describes Keith Schembri as his enemy after having done so much harm to him. Karl Azzopardi
15:39 Portelli: “We had revealed that two PN ministers had swiss accounts. When the Panama Papers were released, we had also been given partner status together with the Times of Malta.” Karl Azzopardi
15:38 He would speak with Caruana Galizia often as editor and journalist. The Malta Independent was given partner status over Swissleaks and the ICIJ. Karl Azzopardi
15:37 Portelli: "I had spoken to the Prime Minister about it and was invited to Castille to discuss the matter. I was given the impression that they would not support a media house that employed Daphne Caruana Galizia." Karl Azzopardi
15:37 Portelli: “The situation with regards advertising was always precarious. At budget time, I started to see adverts on other media and us being left out.” Karl Azzopardi
15:36 Portelli: "I can't say attempts but that there were suspicions. In 2013 I was presenting TVAM with Joe Mifsud, today a magistrate. After the election, PBS informed me that I was being dropped from the program...then I had this invitation from the Independent." Karl Azzopardi
15:34 Judge Lofaro asks whether there were attempts to block advertising. Karl Azzopardi
15:33 Portelli: “I had shown concern to my fellow board members to this fact and that the newspaper would not remain profitable.” Karl Azzopardi
15:32 Portelli says Silvio Debono had wanted to buy a Television station too. "I had advised informally that it was madness to open another TV channel as there wasn't enough advertising or content for it. " Karl Azzopardi
15:31 Portelli: "Ok, so basically what I can say is that the board had been approached with a bid for the newspaper. But later Yorgne Fenech himself had spoken to me about his interest. He had asked me if I would carry on as editor if he bought it. I said I'd consider it. Eventually he told me that Silvio Debono would also be joining but it never happened." Karl Azzopardi
15:29 Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia confirms that one had testified behind closed doors and the other two had testified in open court. Karl Azzopardi
15:28 He is told that the directors of the media house had already testified in public about it before the inquiry. Karl Azzopardi
15:28 He is asked about an attempt to purchase the Malta Independent by Yorgen Fenech. Portelli says he was bound by a non-disclosure clause and wished to testify about the issue behind closed doors. Karl Azzopardi
15:27 Portelli says he is a freelance communications specialist. Karl Azzopardi
15:27 Judge Michael Mallia reveals that Portelli had wanted to testify in private, but said that some of the questions had to do with things in the public domain. Karl Azzopardi
15:25 He walks in and steps up to the witness stand. Judge Mallia administers the oath. Karl Azzopardi
15:24 Pierre Portelli is summoned to testify next. Karl Azzopardi
15:23 The reason is that Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia have to leave at 4:00 pm but that the sitting can continue. Karl Azzopardi
15:23 Chris Soler and Jason Azzopardi have a pow-wow with the court registrar. The subject is not clear. Karl Azzopardi
15:23 Delia’s questioning is finished. He steps off the stand. Karl Azzopardi
15:17 "So, you don't know of it" asks Lofaro. “Correct,” he replies. Karl Azzopardi
15:17 Delia is repeatedly warned by the panel that he is under oath. Karl Azzopardi
15:16 Lofaro suggests that someone might have suggested planting a story in the Malta Independent and then L-Orizzont. "In the broadest of terms, madam justice, nobody ever approached me," Delia says. Karl Azzopardi
15:14 Delia: “Absolutely not. Not even tempted. Nobody ever tried to influence me in any way and if they had I would have reported them immediately as I had done in the past.” Karl Azzopardi
15:14 “Could it have been an attempt to influence the media of the PN?” asks Lofaro. Karl Azzopardi
15:13 Delia: “Factually, if I spent three years [in office] there was never a person who approached the PN through me or the persons in charge of the party's finances who came with money a promise of something like it to buy influence.” Karl Azzopardi
15:08 "I think I am the only politician who is alone, together with the Attorney General whose role is protecting the public interest, prosecuting a civil case on collusion." He slides into well-practised spiel on Vitals. Karl Azzopardi
15:05 Delia: "God forbid that the fact that your tone of arguing is stronger than someone else's would mean that you would raise a hand to your opponent," Delia said after Said Pullicino pointed out that he had shown a "certain aggression" towards Caruana Galizia. Karl Azzopardi
15:05 Delia: "God forbid that the fact that your tone of arguing is stronger than someone else's would mean that you would raise a hand to your opponent." Karl Azzopardi
15:03 Said Pullicino: “Everything points to a convergence of political interests on the murder.” Karl Azzopardi
15:03 Delia: "I didn't know, I couldn't know and nothing reached me." Karl Azzopardi
15:02 "I assure you that if there was a mite of information that I had known anything to do about the most important political murder, God forbid that I could have helped the courts and didn't." Karl Azzopardi
15:00 The judges ask about his relationship with Keith Schembri. "He was a political adversary." Karl Azzopardi
14:59 “I absolutely deny that they went in the name of the PN as the party sent them... Not me and not the party, that's as far as I can say.” Karl Azzopardi
14:58 “I think that Schiavone and Debono can answer as to why they went, not me,” Adrian Delia says. Karl Azzopardi
14:58 Delia: "I certainly didn't send them. I certainly didn't know that they were going. When I found out, there was an internal investigation which I was not involved in in any way.” Karl Azzopardi
14:57 He is asked about an incident where MPs Kirsty Debono and Herman Schiavone had gone to Yorgen Fenech. Karl Azzopardi
14:56 Delia: "Se mai someone from the Times of Malta has to confirm it...It is useless to speculate on a document that nobody has seen." Karl Azzopardi
14:56 “So, the Times of Malta is wrong?” asks the judge. Karl Azzopardi
14:55 Delia: "How can I tell you that I know that day when I have no certainty that the chat is correct." Karl Azzopardi
14:55 Michael Mallia: “Yorgen Fenech became linked with 17 Black in November 2018. You said you knew who he was and that he had invited you for a meal on WhatsApp. This was published in 2019 in the Times of Malta.” Karl Azzopardi
14:54 There was free flowing food and alcohol, Delia says. "It is a meal like other meals organised, even before my time." Karl Azzopardi
14:53 It is eventually established that there was a meal organised at the Ranch. Karl Azzopardi
14:53 Delia: "I can't remember. I never said that the party organised meets and greets with businessmen." Karl Azzopardi
14:50 Judge Abigail Lofaro asks him if there were any other PN exponents at the ranch meal. Karl Azzopardi
14:49 He said he could say with certainty that the party donation law was not breached by taking more than legally allowed. Karl Azzopardi
14:46 "I was talking about myself," Delia retorts. Karl Azzopardi
14:46 "It happens, of course it does," says Lofaro. Karl Azzopardi
14:46 It was absolutely not true that he had a conversation or chat about David Casa, he says. "It doesn't happen." Karl Azzopardi
14:45 Delia: "It doesn't mean that if I have 1,000 people I'm chatting to, that I have a specific interest." Karl Azzopardi
14:44 There was just one occasion where Delia had gone to Yorgen Fenech's ranch, it was an event with many other people, he said. Karl Azzopardi
14:43 Delia says there is a specific word for when one reproduces the chats but it is not the actual chat. Karl Azzopardi
14:42 The Malta Independent had run a story saying that he was suggesting that he messages were fabricated, points out the board. Karl Azzopardi
14:41 Delia: "But I can't say that I wasn't aware as it would mean that they existed.” Karl Azzopardi
14:41 Had he asked Portelli if there were any chats? "No." Karl Azzopardi
14:41 “There was no €20,000s coming in from anywhere, not Yorgen Fenech, not anyone." Karl Azzopardi
14:39 Lofaro: “This is your prerogative, but what about safeguarding your reputation?” Karl Azzopardi
14:39 “It wasn't a smart move to take steps against Schembri at this point,” Delia says. There are several proceedings going on. Karl Azzopardi
14:37 It is pointed out that Schembri testified under oath. Karl Azzopardi
14:36 Delia: "If there is someone who I don't trust and don't believe it is Keith Schembri." Karl Azzopardi
14:36 The allegation was made by disgraced former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, who claimed that Portelli would meet murder suspect Yorgen Fenech once a month to collect €20,000. Karl Azzopardi
14:36 Mallia: “Did you ask Portelli on the allegation about the €20,000 monthly payment from Yorgen Fenech?” Karl Azzopardi
14:35 Did he ever speak to you about him? “No.” Karl Azzopardi
14:35 Mallia: “Did Pierre Portelli know Yorgen Fenech?” I understand that he did, Delia replies. Karl Azzopardi
14:33 Mallia: “Did Pierre Portelli know Yorgen Fenech?” Karl Azzopardi
14:32 I could not use the party media as I had no access to it at the time. "It's a sad fact, but she died shortly after I was made leader of the opposition." Karl Azzopardi
14:30 Judge Mallia asks him how he would reply to the criticism made about him by Caruana Galizia. “Would you use the party media or other means?” Karl Azzopardi
14:29 Delia: “There is no friendship with Yorgen Fenech. There never was.” Karl Azzopardi
14:28 He is saying that the chats may have taken place but nothing special was said in them. "But I don't have them." Karl Azzopardi
14:27 Delia: “I had already said in public that there was an activity organised by the Party where I met a group of business people. Groups of eight or 12. In one of them there probably was Yorgen Fenech.” Karl Azzopardi
14:27 Delia: “There was nothing libellous about them. I don't think that the chats mention any sum of money.” Karl Azzopardi
14:26 "Times of Malta,” Lofaro says. "Why didn't you sue for libel?" Karl Azzopardi
14:26 Delia: "I don't know where they came from, but that which was allegedly reported..." Karl Azzopardi
14:24 He is asked about chats with Yorgen Fenech. Karl Azzopardi
14:24 Delia: "I deny that I ever accepted a donation from Yorgen Fenech. I had denied it under oath and confirm it today that I never received money from Fenech or from anyone.” Karl Azzopardi
14:23 Delia: "In my time, there was no singular donation of a large amount." He denies that the party ever received €50,000 donation from Yorgen Fenech. Karl Azzopardi
14:22 The party depends on donations, fundraising marathons, rents from properties belonging to the party, there was the cedoli (private loan) scheme, Delia replies. Karl Azzopardi
14:20 Said Pullicino: "With regards to the financing of political parties, how much does it depend on businessmen?” Karl Azzopardi
14:20 Judge Joseph Said Pullicino: "Today there is information in the public domain that is accessible to many people, including chats, which we do not have access to." He warns him that what he says today might come back to bite him in the future. Karl Azzopardi
14:16 Lofaro: “Why not 17 Black?” He replies that it wasn’t the same. Karl Azzopardi
14:15 Delia: “There was precise legal direction in the case of vitals which one could take. Any MP could do so. I was the only one to take on the case though.” Karl Azzopardi
14:14 Judge Abigail Lofaro: “When 17 Black came to light why didn't you institute proceedings or fight it in the same way as Vitals?” Karl Azzopardi
14:13 Adrian Delia is asked about the Panama Papers. "Certainly, it is not for me to eulogise the courage of Caruana Galizia in fighting big fights.... I mention one that I am also involved in: Vitals... Not everyone has the courage to pursue such stories." Karl Azzopardi
14:12 He is asked about his reaction to Daphne Caruana Galizia: "My reaction was that if you are investigating something and I am offering you the documentation, giving the person the right to explain..." Karl Azzopardi
14:10 The affidavit was not exhibited anywhere. "I had published it. Nobody asked me for it, but physically I had sworn it in the registry of courts and published it that evening. If I 'm not mistaken a press release was also issued." Karl Azzopardi
14:10 Lofaro asks him if he denies this allegation. "Not only do I deny it but I had made an affidavit specifically on these insinuations." Karl Azzopardi
14:09 He says recently, David Thake had told him that he wasn't referring to him when he spoke about the David Casa re-election story. Karl Azzopardi
14:09 Lofaro: “Wasn't there a magisterial inquiry? Didn't the magistrate send for you?” No, he replies. Karl Azzopardi
14:08 Abigail Lofaro asks him about the Soho flat business and whether the police had spoken to him about it. "No." Karl Azzopardi
14:07 She had not shown any interest in meeting him. Karl Azzopardi
14:07 He had offered her to meet and show her the documents. "If you say someone has 9.4 million in debt, that is what people will remember, but if you are shown that it is a 9% shareholding..." Karl Azzopardi
14:06 On his 9% shareholding in a Gozo company, a luxury apartment development in Mgarr, where he held interest with his law firm partner George Sapiano, had weighed the assets and debts, and there was no imbalance. Karl Azzopardi
14:03 Delia agreed and pointed out that he would still defend her right to say what she said, despite disagreeing with her. Karl Azzopardi
14:02 Judge Michael Mallia: “She had every right to express herself. Some of your replies were too aggressive.” Karl Azzopardi
14:02 Delia: “I had felt offended. Once, twice, three times I had apologised for this and it is something I regret saying. It was a very tense time.” Karl Azzopardi
14:01 Delia: “One of the most memorable public incidents was when I used the phrase ‘bicca blogger’ to describe her. This was one of the things which remained in the public consciousness.” Karl Azzopardi
14:01 "In total, I had filed four libels." One was about the Soho flat, Delia confirms, answering a question by Judge Abigail Lofaro. Karl Azzopardi
14:00 Delia: “There was a series of stories which implied that I was involved in money laundering. This hurt me a lot. I had been an advocate for 25 years and never had any mention of abuse.” Karl Azzopardi
13:59 “In the months before I was fighting a hard battle in the fight against corruption in football. There were people putting pressure on me. On one occasion at Qormi , several RIU cars came and asked to search my vehicle. They found nothing. Somebody leaked this to the press,” he says. Karl Azzopardi
13:59 Adrian Delia: “One allegation was that I had met Edward Zammit Lewis which wasn't true, then an episode which irritated me a lot which said I had a car parked in an alley in Qormi where drug traffickers meet. In reality I was meeting a client. The way it was portrayed was that I was doing something wrong.” Karl Azzopardi
13:57 “At the beginning I tried to understand where and how to answer her as I was new to politics. Then there were certain allegations which were not correct,” he says. Karl Azzopardi
13:57 They would communicate by messages and phone calls. "I would answer her." Karl Azzopardi
13:56 Adrian Delia: “I had spoken to her during a protest before the leadership race.” Karl Azzopardi
13:56 "I had no professional relationship with her," Delia replies. Karl Azzopardi
13:55 Mallia: “Had you any relationship with her before politics?” Karl Azzopardi
13:55 Judge Michael Mallia: “It is in the public domain that your nomination and appointment brought a reaction from Daphne Caruana Galizia.” Karl Azzopardi
13:53 Mallia asks him when he became leader of the opposition. "October 2017" he replies. Karl Azzopardi
13:53 He is administered the oath. Karl Azzopardi
13:52 He stands in the door before being directed to the witness stand by Judge Abigail Lofaro. Karl Azzopardi
13:51 Former Nationalist leader Adrian Delia is summoned to the stand. Karl Azzopardi
13:51 The board, after taking note of the notes filed by Yorgen Fenech on 8 March and the AG presented today, orders that both notes are inserted in the acts of the inquiry. Karl Azzopardi
13:50 The three judges emerge from their chambers and the sitting begins. Karl Azzopardi
13:39 Former PN leader Adrian Delia and businessman Pierre Portelli are expected to testify. Karl Azzopardi
13:38 We are waiting outside the courtroom for the Public Inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia to start. Karl Azzopardi
13:37 Good afternoon. Karl Azzopardi