Tumas Fenech’s family appeals court-ruled DNA test on magnate’s remains

The family of late tycoon Tumas Fenech has lodged an appeal against a court-ruled DNA test on his remains to determine paternity after a prison inmate claims he was the business mogul’s son

The family of late business mogul Tumas Fenech have lodged an appeal against a court decision to have DNA from Fenech’s remains tested for paternity. The Court had recently ruled Fenech’s DNA would be tested following claims in court filings by an inmate at Corradino Correctional Facility that he is one of Fenech’s sons.

Victor Buttigieg had filed a case before the Family Court in 2013 requesting the DNA tests to verify paternity and to amend his birth certificate accordingly. The Court had recently granted that request and appointed Dr Mario Scerri and Dr Marisa Cassar to examine Fenech’s remains.

But speaking to MaltaToday on Saturday, the Fenech family’s legal representation confirmed they had filed an appeal on the ruling, which was registered on 19 July. It will be heard by Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti and Judges Giannino Caruana Demajo and Anthony Ellul.

As founder of the Tumas Group of Companies, Tumas Fenech and his children built up a business empire encompassing the gaming, management, property development, automotive and hospitality and leisure industries.

He is the grandfather of Yorgen Fenech, the man accused of masterminding the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Tumas Fenech died in 1999.

Grave ‘had been emptied or substituted’ to thwart claim

Buttigieg himself is currently serving time on drug-related charges after a lifetime of criminal convictions.

Back in February his lawyer, Edward DeBono, had filed an urgent court application informing the court that it had come to Buttigieg’s knowledge that Fenech’s grave had either been emptied or, in an effort to thwart Buttigieg’s claim, the remains had been substituted. 

In the application, Buttigieg had also called for DNA comparisons of all the Fenech siblings, as well as his own, in the event that the disinterment request would not have been upheld, “to ensure that no treachery in all that is being requested for the best conclusion of this case”.

Since the DNA tests have been ordered by the Court, it is assumed the remains have since been found intact.

Buttigieg has been in and out of prison over the past 22 years. In 1999, he was sentenced to eight months in prison for theft, later reduced to six months. After an acquittal on a heroin possession charge in 2003, he was jailed for two years for subsequent charges of heroin possession in 2005, and for six years in 2015, again for heroin possession.