From sex with Yorgen to Hilton comps, Labour’s fiery whip tries to turn the tables

Labour MP fires salvo against Opposition MPs he accuses of soliciting favours from Tumas magnate Yorgen Fenech after sex allegations

An allegation that a Labour MP, now junior minister, had sexual relations with Yorgen Fenech – the alleged mastermind in the Caruana Galizia assassination – has opened a new front of accusations of MPs who enjoyed the largesse of the wealthy Fenech magnates.

The original allegation was made by Paul Caruana Galizia, and which was since denied by two former parliamentary secretaries, Julia Farrugia-Portelli and Silvio Schembri. Equality parliamentary secretary Roseanne Cutajar has declined to comment on the allegation.

Prime Minister Robert Abela has rejected calls to demote ministers who may have had a friendship or relationship with Fenech before being accused with murder in November 2019.

“It depends whether the friendship or intimate relationship was before or after Yorgen Fenech was implicated in the [murder] case. To me that is the demarcation line… It is not right that you and some are trying to give the impression that just because a person had ever spoken to or had a friendship with Yorgen Fenech it is wrong,” Abela said.

Maltese MPs’ sexual proclivities have rarely stolen the limelight, but sex with a powerful magnate whose connection with the Panama Papers was made clear in 2018, would probably be considered one of the more egregious acts of recreation for people elected to the House.

On Wednesday evening, Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield fired a salvo against unnamed Nationalist MPs he accused of having had professional and friendly relationships with Yorgen Fenech.

“The PN should tell us who these people are… they should be sincere for once, not hypocrites. They should be honourable members who admit they have eaten from the hand of Yorgen Fenech, even as they accused MPs of this side of their relationships with Fenech.”

Bedingfield claimed various Nationalist MPs have had some form of business relationship or other form of contact with Fenech. Without naming names, he accused Opposition members of having been in contact with the multi-millionaire, soliciting favours for overnight stays at the Tumas Group’s Hilton Hotel, access to the hotel’s pool, free dinners, or for the organisation of all-expenses-paid birthday parties.

The Labour Whip also referred to one MP – since identified as deputy leader Robert Arrigo – of being in a formal business relationship with the Tumas Group.

Bedingfield said Yorgen Fenech’s companies also had legal services handled by one of the PN’s policy forum leaders.

“Why are such relationships unacceptable for one side of the House only?” Bedingfield charged in parliament. “That is why I demand that we MPs be honourable with ourselves – we should admit as much. And indeed I have more questions to make, for the Opposition to answer.”

Robert Arrigo has since said the business concern Bedingfield referred to was the operation of the Topaz Hotel. Arrigo said he acquired a lease for beds at the Topaz from the late George Fenech in 2013, father of Yorgen Fenech. Arrigo has declared never having had dealings with Yorgen Fenech. Nominally, the ownership of the mentioned company – Hummingbird Properties – is held by MHLG Limited and corporate services provider Tri-Mer, with MHLG’s ownership again being vested in Tri-Mer.

The first time that Fenech’s role in the murder became public was in November 2019 when he was arrested and indicted as a person of interest.

Prior to that there was no public information linking Fenech to the journalist’s assassination despite investigators identifying him as a potential suspect in 2018.

In November 2018, Fenech was outed as the owner of Dubai company 17 Black, which had featured as a target client on bank account opening forms for the Panama companies that belonged to former minister Konrad Mizzi and Joseph Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Schembri.

Abela insisted that the media must not “humiliate” people, with clear reference to the claim that a member of his Cabinet had an intimate relationship of sorts with Fenech.

“I have proven that I am ready to take tough decisions… but I will not let anyone dictate the government's agenda,” he added.

Even the PN leader Adrian Delia has denied meeting Yorgen Fenech after news emerged that the businessman owned Dubai company 17 Black, after the middleman in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case, Melvin Theuma, claimed in court that Fenech boasted with him of having lunched with Delia.

Since then, a magisterial inquiry has been launched into whether Fenech made a €50,000 cash donation to Delia to ensure that MEP David Casa is not re-elected in the 2019 European elections. Delia has refused the suggestion that he is under investigation, and said the allegation is a lie.

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