Jason Azzopardi admits that Tel Aviv hotel stay was paid for by Tumas Group

He initially denied receiving any freebies from Yorgen Fenech or Tumas Group in an interview on TVM's XTRA

Newspaper Illum revealed today that Jason Azzopardi benefitted from a free stay at the Hilton in Tel Aviv fully financed by Tumas Group. Azzopardi confirmed this but said that he feels no obligation to Yorgen Fenech for the favour. 

Illum reported that Azzopardi spent five days, from July 19-24 in 2017, at the Hilton in Tel Aviv with all expenses paid for, including access to the lido and a poolside buffet. This was prior to revelations that Yorgen Fenech owned 17 Black. 

The PN MP said that he had contacted Raymond Fenech, a director within the group, and asked him whether he could help in finding a hotel in Tel Aviv, where he was invited to attend a wedding. 

“He found me a hotel and it was only while I was checking out that the receptionist told me that it had been taken care of. It was a surprise because when I checked in she took my credit card details, as is practice,” he said. 

Tippermettuli nikteb b’referenza ghaz-zewg stejjer fejn nissemma’ jien fl-ILLUM halli tkunu tafu l-fatti. Skuzawni jekk...

Posted by Jason Azzopardi on Sunday, November 8, 2020

“I called him or sent him a message saying that I wasn't expecting this but that as soon as I arrive in Malta I was going to thank him. I remember that as I arrived I bought him a gift from a silver shop and took it to the reception of his office in Portomaso (I never stepped beyond the reception) and left it there with a thank you note so that I would not have any obligations.” 

Azzopardi has long been critical of those close to Yorgen Fenech, and was particularly vocal after revelations that MFSA and FIAU officials enjoyed a trip to Caesars Palace casino and hotel financed by Fenech. 

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PN local councillor Pierre Paul Portelli did not mince his words on the issue, taking to Facebook to express his anger. 

“Everywhere you look there is dirt, hidden gifts and favours. Another great news item for MoneyVal,” he wrote.  “I now expect the Nationalist Party to convene the parliamentary group, the administrative and the executive in order to discuss the disciplinary steps against ‘the honourable’ Azzopardi. Or will they protect whoever they want and break down only those who agree with them?” 

Saviour Balzan, who confronted Jason Azzopardi on XTRA last Thursday, also spoke out on the issue. “Jason Azzopardi conveniently hides behind his work for the Caruana Galizia family to justify his grave mistakes. He is no different to others, and he lies blatantly when he declares he left a silver gift to thank the Tumas Group for his Tel Aviv freebie,” he tweeted.