Degiorgios knew Muscat had spilled beans two days after police talks

Two days after speaking to police, Muscat learnt that brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio had spoken to their brother and sister, using mobile phones in their possession, and that they knew Muscat had decided to speak to the authorities

From left: Alfred Degiorgio and Vincent Muscat, and second from right, George Degiorgio
From left: Alfred Degiorgio and Vincent Muscat, and second from right, George Degiorgio

 

The investigators in the Caruana Galizia assassination ignored information given to them by criminal accused Vince Muscat ‘il-Kohhu’, with top brass in Castille having played down the value of information Muscat gave on middleman Melvin Theuma as early as April 2018.

In a bid for a presidential pardon, Muscat is said to have not only offered up the name of middleman Melvin Theuma, but also a long list of details on past crimes.

But the information was not given in the presence of the Attorney General, and subsequently Muscat’s decision to cooperate with police reached the ears of the Degiorgio brothers, George and Alfred.

On 23 April, 2018, Muscat met inspector Keith Arnaud in the presence of his now former lawyer Arthur Azzopardi, indicating he was willing to reveal all he knew about the Caruana Galizia assassination but also other murders and crimes.

MaltaToday is informed that Muscat – already accused of participating in the 2010 HSBC heist – gave Arnaud details on the bomb that killed Caruana Galizia, the origins of the bomb, but also details on similar makes of car bombs that had been already used.

Muscat also told Arnaud of a list, without revealing more, of unsolved murders and robberies he was ready to shed light on, together with the individuals involved in the crimes.

But despite the risky move to collaborate with police, Muscat’s information was given short shrift, with one police source saying Muscat was led to believe police already knew of Melvin Theuma and had nothing new from the accused.

Still, the police investigators consulted with Castille, clearly at a time when various individuals inside the OPM, amongst them Keith Schembri, were aware of Melvin Theuma’s involvement in the assassination, as suggested by the middleman’s own evidence.

Two days after his meeting with Arnaud, Muscat learnt that the co-accused – brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio – had spoken to their brother and sister, using mobile phones in their possession, and that they knew Muscat had decided to speak to the authorities.

In 2019, a foreign journalist with knowledge that Muscat had mentioned Melvin Theuma’s name to Arnaud, also told MaltaToday that he had been asked by the police not to write about the matter. The journalist cooperated, suggesting he had faith in the police investigation and its pace.

But by this time, Castille had already purposely disregarded Vincent Muscat’s decision to reveal the identity of Theuma, suggesting that the OPM spent the best part of 2018 and 2019 – while Joseph Muscat was busy canvassing the halls of Brussels for the top EU job – covering up the role of Yorgen Fenech’s henchman in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Recent testimony in court in the case against Fenech has also revealed the close rapport between the police and Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Schembri. Schembri’s role in the murder and other alleged corruption cases that are linked to the Tumas magnate Yorgen Fenech and their offshore companies, so far re-mains unclear.

Eyewitnesses who spoke to MaltaToday insist Keith Schembri met Melvin Theuma not just inside Castille, but also at Yorgen Fenech’s ranch where the group would meet for late-night dinners together with other guests. Unbeknownst to the public, Schembri had a long business and personal relationship with Fenech, exemplified through the link between his Panama company and Fenech’s 17 Black in Dubai, a secret vehicle designed to channel payments from various projects.

Audio-clips from recordings made by Theuma are said to reveal that he had been kept abreast of a request for a presidential pardon by Vincent Muscat.

The evidence is part of the same body of discussions Theuma was having with alleged mastermind Yorgen Fenech’s business partner, Johann Cremona, who in various discussions with Theuma had assured him he would have been shielded by the former prime minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri.

Theuma, who turned state witness in the murder case, was kept in the know of legal developments known only to police and the Attorney General.

In the conversations, Cremona – a business associate of Fenech who knew Keith Schembri – informs Theuma that Muscat was engaged in a plea bargain but that the offer had been refused.

According to a source: “The recordings between Cremona and Theuma clearly have Cremona telling the middleman not to tell Yorgen Fenech of the information he is being given. Cremona says ‘you know what Kohhu... look... tomorrow he’s going to say that what he said about you what false, right? Which means, Keith was protecting you without telling anyone... because it benefits him’.”

At the time, Schembri was well-placed to know many details on the Caruana Galizia investigation given that he was privy to the Security Service briefings given to Joseph Muscat.

According to MaltaToday’s source, in their conversation Cremona is heard showing Theuma a piece of paper to prove that Muscat was not proceeding on the pardon. “He tells Theuma, ‘do you understand, he did not accept the deal... these guys don’t care... I asked for this favour myself... I’m here with facts, not words, he doesn’t want the 30 years.”

Muscat has maintained that the information he provided to Inspector Arnaud was what, in fact, led to the arrest of Melvin Theuma. But the prosecution had only requested that Melvin Theuma testifies before the Court of Magistrates on 26 November 2019 – that is almost four months after the Attorney General had issued the Bill of Indictment against Muscat and the other co-accused, and when the preliminary pleas before the Criminal Court had been submitted and oral submissions nearing their end.

Vincent Muscat’s lawyer has implied that Keith Schembri had worked to have his pardon denied: “...in view of the revelations emerging in the past days, Vincent Muscat is deeply concerned that his first request to be granted the prerogative of mercy might not have been handled in the proper, correct and just manner. This concern results from the possibility that a person or persons having a possible direct or indirect interest in diverting or delaying these investigations was being updated on the investigations and also on the request for mercy made by Vincent Muscat.”

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