Theuma hits back at Fenech with criminal complaint

Melvin Theuma requests police investigation over intimidation of witness by Yorgen Fenech

Murder middleman Melvin Theuma
Murder middleman Melvin Theuma

Melvin Theuma, the pardoned middleman in the Caruana Galizia assassination, has hit back at alleged mastermind Yorgen Fenech, filing a criminal complaint in which he accuses the Tumas magnate of the crime of calumny and intimidation of witnesses.

Theuma’s lawyers are referring to a criminal complaint filed by Fenech’s lawyer last week, reported by MaltaToday and other sections of the press, in which Fenech claimed that Theuma was guilty of perjury and of having omitted more information than what he knows about other masterminds in the 2017 murder of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Theuma’s lawyers said Fenech’s criminal complaint was an attempt at intimidating the middleman, who turned State’s evidence in November 2019 to reveal all he knew about Fenech’s role in the assassination.

“Theuma has said nothing but the truth in his testimony, repeatedly and categorically having declared that the mastermind in the Caruana Galizia assassination is Yorgen Fenech,” Theuma’s lawyers Matthew Brincat and Kathleen Calleja Grima said.

“It was Fenech who instructed Theuma to give instructions to the executors of the crime to kill Caruana Galizia, and it was Fenech who passed on the money to Theuma to pass them on to these same actors.”

Crucial to Theuma’s criminal complaint are voice recordings, as well as Signal messages between him and Fenech, which were exhibited in the criminal proceedings against Fenech: Theuma says this evidence shows clearly Fenech’s involvement in the murder of Caruana Galizia. “This in itself already shows that Fenech’s complaint on its own is an act of calumny when there is proof that Theuma has stated the truth,” the lawyers said.

Voice recordings

In his criminal complaint, Theuma exhibited various extracts from the recordings presented to the court proceedings against Fenech.

In one of these recordings, Fenech is quoted as admitting his involvement by saying that Theuma should not worry as much about his role in the murder than who actually commissioned it.

The recording is quoted as saying:

Theuma: “You had told me once, why was I worrying so much? I had cause...”

Fenech: “But do you know why?... Because you moved someone from A to Z, but goddamn it it is me who has the most to worry... who fixed up the thing does not have a big a problem as the one who committed it...”

Theuma: “Do they know you... Fulu, Koħħu, Ċiniż?”

Fenech: “Of course not.”

Theuma: “They don’t. It’s me they know.”

Fenech: “Obviously.”

Theuma: “Your name has never been mentioned... I swear on the life of my son.”

In a second quotation, Fenech is heard telling Theuma that he had passed on the money for the killers to the middleman, a reference to court testimony in which Theuma spoke of the executors demanding €30,000 before the hit, but that Fenech paid off the €150,000 sum in one fell swoop.

Theuma: “I had told you they wanted 30.”

Fenech: “No, do you remember what I gave you?”

Theuma: “Yes. I told you they wanted 30...”

Fenech: “... 30 and then I told you I want to get the rid of the whole thing. You came for me.”

Theuma: “And you have 150”


Fenech: “Yes I remember.”

In a third segment, Theuma and Fenech are heard speaking about the matter of bail for the Degiorgio brothers and Vincent Muscat, in which Fenech is heard saying he was unable to force the hand of any judge. “Look, if you tell me what you need, I will see what I can do and do whatever needs to be done. But honestly, I’m not going to tell you that I will try... what can you do? I can’t do anything else. What: am I going up to the judge and tell him ‘I’m the one who got this thing done’?”

In a fourth segment, Theuma’s lawyers challenge the claim that the middleman could be deliberately holding back on the involvement of Keith Schembri, the former chief of staff of disgraced prime minister Joseph Muscat and secret business partner of Fenech. In this recording, Fenech is heard saying:

“This guy (Silvio Valletta) is not my friend like the other one (Schembri) is. He is my friend, I trust him... what he did for, he did it, because the truth’s the truth – and when I told him he froze... I told him ‘goddamn it I have no other way’.”

.... “Keith will tell me what he has always told me...  ‘the worst thing you did is tell me’. I told him ‘what would have you done?’ He told me he’d have helped me, sure enough... and if someone is going to help me, it’s him. I told him he had no other way. I told him ‘Did I do something wrong?’ He said: ‘Hell no! You should have bloody told me before, goddamn it’.”

In a fifth excerpt, Fenech is again discussing bail for the Degiorgios and Muscat with Theuma, who is expressing worry his guarantees to the hitmen. Fenech says:

“I have someone’s word. If anything happened to you I could never live it down. Isn’t this happening to you because of me? I’m no fucker. Even if this had not happened, you’re my friend... if you’re in it then I will take on me as much as I can, there’s nothing else one can do, it’s me who fucked it up. Nothing one can do.”

And in a sixth excerpt, Fenech says: “Let’s be bloody serious here. I’m telling you Melvin, it’s not about whether I get caught or not... if I give you my word, that’s my word. There’s always room to make some pressure because you have the law in your favour.”

Signal messages

Apart from the voice recordings exhibited in his criminal complaint, Theuma also presented a screenshot of a Signal message in which he and Fenech are discussing the Caruana Galizia murder. In it Fenech is quoted as saying: “Step by step, keep calm, tell Maksar that he’s already said that (the bomb) was done in their garage in Ħaz-Żebbuġ” – ostensibly a reference to information that was being given to investigators by Vincent Muscat ‘il-Koħħu’ on the Agius brothers, also known as the Maksar gang, and their role in the assassination (Biċċa biċċa, Żomm kalm, Wasslu lil Maksar li diġa qal li inħadmet għandhom fil-garage Ħaż-Żebbuġ).

In other messages, the lawyers say Fenech tries to calm down Theuma on the eve of his arrest in an anti-money laundering raid: “Come on mate... courage, this will pass and we will all relax once and for all... this will pass, if we keep our heads about us, it will blow over 100%, I’m behind you always.”

Another set of messages shows Fenech saying: “But be assured, nobody can touch me, know this, that’s why I’m only worried about you, otherwise nobody can fuck with me... today you’re my brother, and your son is my son, I cannot tell you more than that. I will be here even in the worst of moments, and if you stay strong, they will have to kiss our balls.”

Theuma’s lawyers tell the police in their complaint that if Fenech claims he was not involved in the homicide, he certainly would have had no reason to attempt to calm Theuma down. They also remind the police that Fenech himself had requested a presidential pardon, which was refused to him, and which he then followed up with a civil claim in court.

“No individual is going to ask for a presidential pardon, indeed file a claim in court even after it was denied, if they are innocent. The question therefore arises: if the allegations against him are a fabrication, why should he then request a pardon and invoke the Courts for it? What sense does it make to request a pardon if he has not committed the crime he was arrested for?”