Witness saw Chris Cardona chatting with Caruana Galizia murder suspect in Siggiewi bar

Witness told The Daphne Project that economy minister Chris Cardona was at Siggiewi bar with murder suspect Alfred Degiorgio some time in November 2017 • Family believes mastermind is being protected

Minister for the economy Chris Cardona
Minister for the economy Chris Cardona

A witness introduced to the journalists of the Daphne Project by a high-ranking member of the Nationalist Opposition, has said he saw murder suspect Alfred Degiorgio and minister Chris Cardona chatting at a Siggiewi bar one afternoon in November 2017.

The witness, who described himself as a regular at the bar, said he saw murder suspect Alfred Degiorgio and Cardona at the bar one day in November, sometime between 4.30pm and 6.15pm.

Degiorgio ‘il-Fulu’ is charged with the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who died by a powerful car bomb on 16 October, 2017, together with his brother George Degiorgio ‘ic-Ciniz’ and Vincent Muscat ‘il-Kohhu’.

The Degiorgio brothers are among 10 men arrested in connection with Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder
The Degiorgio brothers are among 10 men arrested in connection with Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder

According to the Daphne Project, a consortium of 18 media organisations that is continuing the stories started by Caruana Galizia, the witness said Cardona and Degiorgio spoke for some time and, at one point, he claimed he spotted them walking outside together.

This was the only time he had seen the two together, the eyewitness said. The bar owner declined to comment with The Times on the movements of any of his clients.

READ MORE Crime brothers: Where the Degiorgios’ names crop up in the Maltese world of crime

These allegations were already known to the Caruana Galizia family, who reported it to inquiring magistrate Anthony Vella.

But Radio France, a member of the Daphne Project, cited a source close to the inquiry saying the political connection to the murder was not believable. “While these are troubling [accounts]… a source close to the inquiry explained they could not believe in the political theory [of who commissioned the murder]. The principal line of investigation will be that of a crime ordered by a criminal organisation which the journalist was investigating.” 

The Siggiewi bar in which Economy minister Chris Cardona is alleged to have met Alfred Degiorgio
The Siggiewi bar in which Economy minister Chris Cardona is alleged to have met Alfred Degiorgio

Cardona was also reported to have frequented the bar by another witness who spoke separately to the journalists, describing him as a regular visitor to the bar on weekends.

Here is the exchange between a Radio France journalist and a patron at Ferdinand’s Bar in Siggiewi, who said one of the suspects visited the bar the night before his arrest on 4 December, 2017 – but said Cardona was not present that night, he said. 

Journalist: Is there a politician here who once went to a gentleman’s club?

Witness: Cardona. He drinks with us here.

Journalist: He comes here? Is he a regular?

Witness: yes. He comes on Saturdays and every Sunday. Chris Cardona. And there is the journalist who was killed in Malta, Caruana Galizia. Three persons have been arrested.

Journalist: And these men, they would come here as well?

Witness: Yes, yes.

Journalist: In this very bar?

Witness: In the same bar.

Journalist: And they knew the politician, Cardon?

Witness: Yes.

Journalist: Did you see them together?

Witness: Yes, yes.

Journalist: Frequently?

Witness: Together having a drink.

Journalist: Was it before or after the murder?

Witness: Before, yes.

Contacted by the Daphne Project, Cardona said he “does not recall” having any discussions with any of the three individuals accused of carrying out the car bombing.

“Like most seasoned criminal lawyers in Malta, I know who some of the suspects in the case are. The particular pub you mention welcomes patrons from all walks of life, including other politicians. I do not, however, recall having any discussions with any of these individuals, and have definitely never had any meetings with them. Anything else is baseless rumour and speculation,” Cardona said.

Questioned earlier this month about the allegation, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat simply replied: “Publish that information”.

In his first full interview since his wife’s death, Peter Caruana Galizia claimed political interests were blocking the police investigation and said he feared the mastermind might never be brought to justice.

“It is clear to us that the three men arraigned so far are simply contractors commissioned by a third party,” he said. “My sons and I are not convinced that our government really wants to establish who sent them, for fear such persons are in fact very close to our government. For this reason we may never know the truth.”

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