[WATCH] Police did not need middleman’s information to move in on Yorgen Fenech

The Prime Minister appeals for caution and calm as police may seek extension of 48-hour deadline for charging or releasing Yorgen Fenech from custody

The police arrest of Yorgen Fenech on Wednesday was not based on information obtained from the middleman who is asking for a presidential pardon, Joseph Muscat said.

The Prime Minister reiterated that negotiations were still underway with the middleman’s lawyers over the terms of the pardon.

Muscat has given the lawyers a letter of commitment that he will recommend a pardon on condition that the man gives police all the information he has in hand on the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination.

The Prime Minister was answering questions from journalists after addressing a conference on cleaning at the Excelsior Hotel.

Muscat appealed for caution and calm, insisting the Attorney General and police investigators were looking at ways and means of extending the 48-hour deadline that a suspect can be kept under arrest.

“This does not mean that this is what will happen but we have to await developments,” he said, adding he would be in a better position to speak when police close the case.

Asked whether he would be cleaning his Cabinet from Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi, as those gathered yesterday in Valletta were calling for, Muscat said his government was committed to “cleaning the country from criminals”.

He insisted that any considerations over Schembri and Mizzi will be made after the Caruana Galizia murder case is resolved.

Schembri and Mizzi had business arrangements with Fenech’s Dubai company 17 Black through their secret Panama companies.

On Wednesday, Muscat said that investigators had informed him that so far, no politician was a person of interest in the murder investigation.

It is unclear what level of involvement Fenech had in the murder but he has been kept overnight at police headquarters for questioning.

Reacting to yesterday’s incident outside Parliament in which angry protestors surrounded the Justice Minister’s ministerial car, Muscat appealed for calm.

He said the actions of those who accosted Owen Bonnici’s car were not representative of all those who may be critical of the government.
Muscat said that the focus should be on delivering justice by finding those who ordered Caruana Galizia’s murder.

“There have been other high profile murders in the past for which prime ministers said they knew who carried out the killings but nobody was ever brought to justice. In contrast, this case [Caruana Galizia murder] is close to be solved under my watch,” Muscat said.

The reference to past cases was for the murders of Karin Grech – a 15-year-old killed by a parcel bomb sent to her doctor father at home – and Raymond Caruana – gunned down inside the Nationalist Party Gudja club by individuals who shot at the building from outside.
Both murders remain unsolved.

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