‘I don’t interfere in private conversations’: Chris Cardona reacts to Yorgen Fenech WhatsApp chats

The former economy minister features in WhatsApp chats between Yorgen Fenech and Rosianne Cutajar that see them fuming over a 64-year extension to the Dragonara lease agreement

Former economy minister Chris Cardona says he will not interfere in private conversations after his name cropped up in WhatsApp chats between alleged murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech and Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar.

In these chats, the two are seen talking about the controversial lease extension for Dragonara Gaming tabled by Cardona in 2019 when he was the minister responsible for the economy.

“I do not interfere in private conversations,” he told MaltaToday on Wednesday when asked about the chats, insisting that the extension was a cabinet decision approved unanimously by parliament.

Cutajar had a seat in parliament when Cardona tabled the motion.

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In some of the leaked chats, Cutajar and Fenech are fuming over the extension agreement, that saw Dragonara casino operators receive a 64-year extension to their lease agreement without a competitive tender.

Cutajar goes on to suggest that Joseph Muscat, who was prime minister at the time, should have made an example of Cardona.

The lease extension saw gaming industry players up in arms at the time, arguing that such an extension should have been issued by competitive tender, as had happened 10 years before.

Casma Ltd, a government-owned public corporation, had awarded Dragonara Ltd a 10-year lease agreement in June 2010 after a competitive tender. Dragonara was obliged to invest €17 million in the property, something the parliamentary motion says was more than fulfilled.