Shambolic Yorgen Fenech money laundering case continues

Money laundering proceedings filed against Yorgen Fenech continued briefly on Monday, with the court reprimanding the prosecution for  failing to summon sufficient witnesses to fill the hour-long sitting

Yorgen Fenech
Yorgen Fenech

Money laundering proceedings filed against Yorgen Fenech continued briefly on Monday, with the court reprimanding the prosecution for failing to summon sufficient witnesses to fill the hour-long sitting.

Fenech stands accused of committing acts of money laundering between April and October 2019 by converting or transferring property that he knew had been derived from criminal activity. 

He is further accused of acting as an accomplice under money laundering laws, misappropriation and fraud to the detriment of Glimmer Ltd, which he co-owns with his uncle, Ray Fenech. The amount in question is some €45,000, according to court testimony.

In the previous sitting, Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech had declared that there was sufficient evidence to indict the former Tumas businessman.

But the case has been beset by problems caused by the prosecution, with many sittings having to be truncated because of insufficient witnesses being summoned.

A representative from the Inland Revenue Department, summoned to the stand today, told the court what kinds of winnings are taxable.

“Lotto wins are not subject to income tax. If you go gamble at a casino, it is not taxable if it is simply a hobby, but if you are a professional gambler, it falls under the income tax act.”

If winnings are not regular, they are taxed on a case by case basis, he explained. “When winnings become regular, as a professional gambler, your expenses incurred are tax-deductible.”

Also taking the witness stand on Monday was a representative of the Malta Gaming Authority, who told the court that Glimmer Ltd had provided it with more information than it was expected to, providing spreadsheets with details on every player between June 2019 and December 2019.

The third witness summoned for the sitting was Mark Consiglio, who appeared on behalf of the Malta Racing Club, a horse racing organisation based in Marsa. He gave details of the administrative processes involved in importing, exporting and transferring racehorses in Malta.

Nicholas Cachia was listed as a member of the club, but Fenech was not, he testified. Cross-examined by defence lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran, he said that the club’s remit only extended to Malta. If someone owned a racehorse abroad and sold it abroad they would not have any information relating to this, Consiglio said.

The next witness, government veterinarian Karen Gatt, testified about horse passports and certificates, as well as expanding on the local processes as described by Consiglio. Questioned by Caruana Curran as to what would happen if a horse is abroad and was sold abroad, she replied, “we don’t feature in such a case.”

Magistrate Frendo Dimech was informed by the prosecution that former judge Antonio Mizzi, summoned to the sitting as a representative of the Malta Racing Club council, had informed the police that he would be abroad today. No further witnesses were summoned, said police inspector Brian Camilleri.

The sitting was over in around half the allocated time, leading Frendo Dimech to reprimand the prosecution over its failure to summon sufficient witnesses to fill an hour-long sitting. “We have people with assets frozen; this court deals with them as a priority…the court’s time is precious, don’t waste it. If you decide to arraign, please be expeditious about it,” observed the court.