[WATCH] Yorgen Fenech spends the night in police custody

Businessman Yorgen Fenech remains in police custody as investigators question him in connection with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia

Yorgen Fenech
Yorgen Fenech

Yorgen Fenech spent the night in police custody as investigators questioned him in relation to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder after the businessman was arrested on Wednesday.

Fenech, who until a week ago was a director in the family firms belonging to the Tumas Group, was arrested on his yacht as he tried to leave Malta.

He was stopped on Wednesday by Armed Forces of Malta patrol boats at 5:30am just after leaving the Portomaso Marina.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat confirmed that Fenech was “a person of interest” in the Caruana Galizia murder investigation.

The police have 48 hours to take Fenech to court and charge him with a crime, or else release him. The 48 hours expire tomorrow morning.

Fenech is understood to have spoken to investigators but it remains unclear at this stage whether he has admitted any guilt.

It is also unclear as to what role Fenech may have played in the assassination of Caruana Galizia.

So far, MaltaToday cannot ascertain whether there were other people on the yacht with Fenech, who were also held by the police, and whether cash was found on the vessel.

Developments came to a head on Tuesday, when the Prime Minister confirmed reports that a middleman involved in the murder was willing to speak as long as he is given a presidential pardon. MaltaToday named the middleman as Melvin Theuma, a taxi driver, with past cases of usury.

Sources in the horse racing sector told this newspaper that Theuma had an interest in horses, a passion also enjoyed by Fenech. “This is probably how the pair know each other,” the sources suggested.

Theuma is understood to have been a permanent fixture with his taxi outside the Hilton Hotel in St Julians, owned by the Tumas Group.

The Prime Minister has said that any pardon is conditional on the middleman giving enough evidence that will lead to a prosecution.

Meanwhile, Fenech’s arrest has prompted the value of the Tumas Group’s bonds to tumble. The businessman resigned his directorships from all family companies on 12 November but the documents were officially filed with the Malta Business Registry on 19 November, 24 hours before he was busted.

Fenech has also resigned his directorship on Electrogas, the company which built and runs the gas power station in Delimara.

The man still retains his shareholding in the companies.

Fenech also owned the mysterious Dubai company 17 Black, which was indicated as a target client for the Panama companies opened by Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri after the 2013 general election.

Reference to 17 Black cropped up in an investigation of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit but it was only after Caruana Galizia was murdered that its owner was identified and indicated as a target client for Mizzi’s and Schembri’s companies.

Caruana Galizia was murdered in a powerful car bomb just outside her house in Bidnija on 16 October 2017.

Just before her murder, the journalist had received a large cache of emails belonging to Electrogas, which she had been working on.

It is unclear so far, whether Fenech’s alleged link to the murder is connected to 17 Black, or any other business he may have been involved in.

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