Caruana Galizia hitmen said ‘we should have recorded Cardona’ – Koħħu to magistrate

Vince Muscat told magistrate of courtroom conversation in which Degiorgios name-dropped Chris Cardona

Murder suspect George Degiorgio being led out of court. (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Murder suspect George Degiorgio being led out of court. (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

One of the hitmen in the assassination of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia told a magistrate in February 2021, that a co-conspirator had complained they had failed to record conversations with former Labour minister Chris Cardona.

Vincent Muscat ‘il-Koħħu’, who pleaded guilty to his part in the car bomb that killed Caruana Galizia in 2017 for a 15-year sentence, told a magistrate the Degiorgio brothers name-dropped Cardona in a conversation they had while waiting to be escorted into the courtroom for the compilation of evidence against him.

George and Alfred Degiorgio were last week denied a pardon for their part in the crime, after they claimed they could give direct evidence of a former Labour minister who commissioned the Caruana Galizia murder, as well as an unnamed middleman that has so far faced no charges in relation to the case.

Ahead of obtaining his plea bargain, Muscat told the inquiring magistrate of an episode during which one of the Degiorgio brothers name-dropped Cardona.

“So one time we were in court, and we had heard on the news… they were always naming Chris Cardona on the news or the papers… so there we were, in the courts down below waiting to be taken up,” Muscat told the magistrate and lead investigator Keith Arnaud, in the presence of his lawyer Marc Sant.

“Just before they took us into court… one of the brothers, either ‘Fulu’ or George said this word… it’s a cuss word, can I say it? He said ‘the fuck-up was that we did not record him’ referring to Chris Cardona.

“Something had happened at the time, something bad concerning him - for them to have told me that - and you know I had told you as much, Inspector,” Muscat told Arnaud before the inquiring magistrate.

Muscat’s claim chimes in with his testimony in court in which he said Alfred Degiorgio ‘il-Fulu’ was a close friend of Cardona and would meet him for information on Caruana Galizia. Muscat is now testifying in the compilation of evidence against brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio, accused of executing the assassination.

Muscat said that when Degiorgio told him about the 2017 murder plot, he had informed him that he knew where Caruana Galizia lived. He also claimed Cardona’s former law firm associate David Gatt, had been a link person in an original 2015 murder plot on Caruana Galizia.

Cardona has previously denied any involvement in Caruana Galizia’s murder, describing the testimony as “pure evil fiction”.

Muscat however has said in court he was not surprised when Alfred Degiorgio sought information on Caruana Galizia from Chris Cardona. “Let us not forget that in 2014 or 2015, when I took George Degiorgio to Portomaso to speak to Chris Cardona… so, I wouldn’t be surprised,” he said in court.