Brothelgate: Caruana Galizia inquiry to preserve Chris Cardona’s mobile location data

Public inquiry board upholds request to preserve TAP3 files containing data on Chris Cardona’s location when Daphne Caruana Galizia alleged he was at a German brothel

Economy Minister Chris Cardona
Economy Minister Chris Cardona

The board of public inquiry charged with probing Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder has decided that it will be preserving the TAP3 mobile network files pertaining to Chris Cardona’s location during his infamous trip to Germany in January 2017.

During the inquiry’s sitting last week, Caruana Galizia family lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia asked the board to obtain copies of the TAP3 files.

The files relate to claims published by Caruana Galizia on her blog that Cardona was at a German brothel, the FKK Acapulco, while on government business during an official visit to Germany in 2017.

READ ALSO: Caruana Galizia relatives tell inquiry: journalist was harassed for her work

Comodini Cachia had said that the TAP3 information would be necessary when the public inquiry came to discuss whether the police had done their job properly.

PN MP Jason Azzopardi, also a lawyer for the Caruana Galizia family, had told the Board that obtaining the TAP3 files was an urgent matter, because if the location information contained within them confirmed Cardona was where Caruana Galizia had claimed he was at the time, this would mean the economy minister had perjured himself, since he had sworn under oath that he had not been at a brothel

Today, the Board said it had decided to uphold the lawyers' request, and would be preserving the files, which would remain in its custody.

In October last year, Cardona and his aide Joe Gerada - whom Caruana Galizia had claimed was with the minister at the brothel - had dropped libel proceedings they had instituted against the slain journalist over the allegations.

Due to the pending libel cases, the TAP3 data in question had been in the custody of a magistrate.

At the time, however, the ceding of the libel suits effectively meant that the opportunity, to verify whether the minister and Gerada were at the brothel, appeared to have disappeared for good.

Today’s decision by the inquiry board to obtain and preserve the case however reopens the possibility that the location of Cardona at the time he was alleged to be at a brothel could come to light.

Whether or not the information within the TAP3 files becomes part of the inquiry board’s final report will likely depend on whether the board deems this relevant to the probe’s scope.

Moreover, while the inquiry’s terms of reference specify that the report has to be published, they allow for parts of it to be redacted if “strictly necessary” to safeguard public safety, data protection, national security, ongoing or future investigations or when publication of the information could endanger a person’s life.

The terms also stipulate that the Caruana Galizia family has to be given access to the full report, including redactions.

More in Court & Police