George Farrugia says he did not ask for presidential pardon

Oil trader George Farrugia denies asking for or intervening before being granted presidential pardon by previous administration.

In his fourth appearance before the Public Accounts Committee, oil trader George Farrugia denied asking for the presidential pardon granted by the previous administration saying it was "neither an offer nor a proposal."

Yesterday, MaltaToday reported that Farrugia was granted the pardon in February 2013 after first availing himself of the right of silence during his 48-hour detention at the police headquarters, when former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi first mooted the possibility of granting a pardon to anyone willing to spill the beans on the Enemalta oil procurement scandal.

Asked by Labour MP Justyne Caruana whether he had asked for a pardon, Farrugia replied a stern "no," stressing "I didn't ask anyone and as far as I know, no one intervened."

Farrugia explained that he was in the lock-up and the Assistant Commissioner Michael Cassar told him that the then prime minister had offered the pardon.

After being pressed on the matter, Farrugia's legal consul Franco Debono intervened and said "The question as to how the Prime Minister [Gonzi] had reached a decision should be made to him."

Despite repeated assertions by the government MPs that he was not telling the whole truth, Farrugia retorted: "Do you think I would risk everything at this stage to protect someone? Do you think I would risk everything after what I passed through? I always replied to your questions whenever I remembered things. I am not protecting anyone. No one."

As MPs from both sides of the House tried to score political mileage from Farrugia's testimony, the oil trader at the centre of the kickback scandal confirmed that his brothers knew of the bribes to Enemalta officials long before they fell out over the funds he siphoned from Powerplan, into his personal firm Aikon Ltd.

Farrugia said his brothers knew about the kickbacks before the fight with them occurred and affirmed that during a meeting with Totsa in Geneva, in September 2010, Total official Olivier de Richemont knew about the kickbacks as did his nephew Chris Farrugia and former ambassador Tony Debono.

"Tony Debono's blue passport was discussed and his role as ambassador, trying to make an impression. They also discussed that I was siphoning off funds to another company. They also discussed an extension of their contract," he said.

He also said that Debono, the former family business chairman not only knew of the kickbacks, but sought a cut and threatened to destroy Farrugia's family.

Farrugia also implied that Debono aided his nephew, Chris Farrugia in taking over the family business.

Asked by Fenech Adami whether he was threatened over the emails which were recovered from his hard disk during a meeting with current home affairs minister Manuel Mallia, then the family lawyer, Farrugia said no emails were shown to him, even though these were in his brothers' possession.

He added that after meeting Mallia, no other meetings took place with his brothers, adding that his nephew, Chris Farrugia, had convinced George's brothers to sign a paper allowing Chris to be the only person to communicate with him.

"His coup d'etat succeeded and he started heading the company with Tony Debono's backing," Farrugia said on Chris Farrugia becaming CEO of John's Group.

Quizzed by opposition MP Beppe Fenech Adami over the timing of the revelation of the kickback scandal, Farrugia explained that in 2010, due to the settlement case, it wouldn't have benefited the rest of the company if the emails were to be leaked then.

As Fenech Adami pressed the oil trader on why he thought the information was only leaked in the run up to the general election, causing irreparable damage to the PN administration, Farrugia insisted that he had suffered the most and his lawyer Siegfried Borg Cole intervened to repeat that "it didn't make sense for the information to be leaked in 2010 because they were still settling."

Farrugia also admitted to receiving three threatening calls at home on Monday 23 December 2012, two of which were answered by his children. In both calls, the caller used foul language and said "I want to ruin your mother".

He said that after informing the police, a sergeant came over and took a statement from the children, one aged 12 and the other 18, however he denied receiving any threats or anonymous letters since the start of the oil scandal.

Asked whether he fears something bad might happen to him or his family, Farrugia said "I don't know, the rest is in God's hands."

This clearly shows beyond a shadow of doubt that he was given a Presidential pardon so that with his evidence the small fry will get caught in the net whereas the BIG ONE(s), the real SHARKS will get away scott free. It is incomprehensible and unbelievable for someone to remember a certain amount of details but not remember who the BIG ONE is.
Mr Farrugia is seen kissing the cross after taking the oath. Dr Owen Bonnici and Dr Justin Caruana repeatedly tell Mr George Farrugia that he is not telling the truth and that they do not believe him. This is perjury. (The deliberate, willful giving of false, misleading, or incomplete testimony under oath). Is he going to get away with this?