‘Keith is protecting you’: Theuma was told not to panic about money laundering arrest

FULL STORY • An associate of Yorgen Fenech told an anxious Melvin Theuma not to worry about a money laundering arrest because ‘Keith’ was protecting him

Keith Schembri in a meeting at Castille during a visit by PANA committee MEPs
Keith Schembri in a meeting at Castille during a visit by PANA committee MEPs

A clip from recordings made by Daphne Caruana Galizia murder middleman Melvin Theuma reveals that people implicated in the assassination could have been shielded by the former prime minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri. 

Theuma, who turned state witness in the murder case, has been giving testimony in the last weeks to back up secret recordings he made of his conversations with Tumas magnate, who stands accused of being the mastermind in the journalist’s assassination. 

But a source privy to the recordings says Theuma can also be heard speaking to an associate of Yorgen Fenech, whose name MaltaToday knows but is withholding pending the compilation of evidence, reassuring Theuma of Keith Schembri’s protection from the police investigation. 

MaltaToday understands that at the time of the recording, Theuma was under pressure from an FIAU investigation that had prodded a police investigation into money laundering. 

Middleman: Melvin Theuma
Middleman: Melvin Theuma

In fact it was this pending arrest in November 2019 that led him to admit his role in the Caruana Galizia assassination. 

Fearing arrest, Theuma reached out to Fenech’s associate, anxious about the investigation. 

“Do you know what I’m really worried about… it’s not Daphne, but the money laundering,” Theuma can be heard saying, as reported by MaltaToday’s source. 

“You have to accept reality… your problem is going to be a police raid,” the associate replies. 

Theuma however appears to be agitated and angered at Yorgen Fenech and Keith Schembri throughout the course of the conversation. 

“He should have told me about this!” Theuma complains, ostensibly referring to Schembri. 

The Fenech associate however claims to Theuma that he was being protected. “He can’t let you go under… Yorgen is telling you lies… Keith is protecting you without telling anyone else about it. Because it benefits him…. But he really is protecting you.” 

Also mentioned in the same conversation is ‘Kenneth’ – ostensibly Kenneth Camilleri, the Malta Security Service detail assigned to the Office of the Prime Minister; and ‘Raymond’ – ostensibly the economic crimes squad inspector Raymond Aquilina, whom Theuma was expecting to arrest him. 

Fenech’s associate also reassures Theuma that he would not face any problems on the money laundering investigation. “Don’t forget that these guys are with you, the police and the prime minister, they’re all with you. If you get Raymond, then I don’t know who else you need.” 

The conversation confirms information that Theuma had already been tipped off of his impending arrest by the police, in what was to be the prelude to an admission of his role in the murder. But when he was arrested, it turned out that a different police inspector had been assigned to the case. Realising he would not be getting released from the money laundering charges, Theuma spilled the beans on the Caruana Galizia assassination. 

But when the arrest was effected by a different police inspector than the one Theuma expected, this pivotal moment led him to present police with his collection of audio files of recordings he had made while speaking to people implicated in the assassination, like Fenech, but also with a host of other third parties, as well as his wife. 

Theuma was since then awarded a presidential pardon on condition that he provides all information on the murder plot that took the life of Caruana Galizia. 

The  Times has also reported that former Maltese police commissioner, Lawrence Cutajar, has been alleged to have tipped off Theuma of his impending arrest. Theuma can be heard saying in an audio recording that Cutajar met his good friend Edwin Brincat ‘il-Ġojja’, and that two dates are mentioned: the 16th and 26th. 

Sources who heard the recording said Theuma is heard telling a third party how he had just received word that Cutajar had met with a close associate of his. Cutajar said he had given his version of events over the meetings with Brincat and denied any wrongdoing.  

Il-Ġojja, a close friend of Theuma, is believed to have first convinced the murder middleman to begin recording his conversations with Fenech and other associates linked to the murder. 

Cutajar said he had no knowledge of the recordings, and that he had not been approached about the matter by any of the authorities. 

Cutajar had held two secret meetings with Il-Ġojja during the course of the murder investigation, apparently without the knowledge of the investigative team. Sources said that when the meeting was first uncovered, Cutajar had been approached by investigative partners and told not to do so again.