After minister accuses oil trader of lying, defence lawyer says ‘no comment’

Rogue oil trader’s lawyer and Nationalist MP Franco Debono says his client is ‘well aware’ of the conditions on which the presidential pardon was granted.

Oil trader George Farrugia who turned State's evidence.
Oil trader George Farrugia who turned State's evidence.

Nationalist MP Franco Debono - and one of the two lawyers representing oil trader George Farrugia - has declined to comment over Tonio Fenech's accusation that Farrugia lied if he really said that the finance minister accepted a gift from the oil trader.

Fenech's statement followed a startling statement made by Labour MP Evarist Bartolo this evening, who alleged that Fenech ccepted a gift worth €5,000 from George Farrugia, shortly after becoming minister responsible for Enemalta, in 2010.

Fenech said he will file for slander against Labour MPs Evarist Bartolo and Chris Cardona, who repeated the allegation at the press conference. "If George Farrugia made this allegation, Farrugia is lying as well. I never received any gift from him, or of any value mentioned by Bartolo."

But when contacted by MaltaToday, Debono said that his client was "very well aware of what the conditions of the state evidence are".

The PN MP however insisted that he had "no comments to make", given that he didn't hear what Tonio Fenech said.

Debono went on to add that he had various meetings with both the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner.

Farrugia was granted conditional presidential pardon on 10 February to turn State's evidence into the Enemalta oil scandal.

The pardon is only valid for crimes connected with the oil bribery case and is conditioned on the premise that Farrugia gives the whole truth and only the truth. This, in connection with the case both in court and in any other inquiry that could be held in connection with fuel procurement in the future.

The pardon also demanded that Farrugia returns all illegal proceeds from the alleged corruption. Farrugia also had to make an initial payment of €250,000 within five days.

Incidentally, has anyone bothered to ask if the initial €250,000 has been refunded?