Fenech says Schembri is mastermind, but police treading with caution on claims

Tumas magnate Yorgen Fenech has accused Keith Schembri of being the mastermind behind the Caruana Galizia assassination

The Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri
The Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri

The chief of staff of Malta’s prime minister, Keith Schembri, was the mastermind behind the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Tumas magnate Yorgen Fenech has told police.

But police sources who spoke to MaltaToday say they are treading with caution on the claims: some versions have been said to have not been corroborated or indeed contradicted by facts. “It’s going to be a long night,” said a police source.

As things stand, both Fenech and Schembri are under arrest and being treated as suspects in the assassination of Caruana Galizia.

Fenech has under arrest since he was apprehended trying to flee the island last Wednesday in his luxury yacht.

But sources claim Fenech has provided interrogators with unreliable information already before pinning the murder on Schembri, and that the former Tumas director is attempting to secure leniency from prosecution for his own alleged role in the crime.

The multi-millionaire has also been reported to have accused Schembri of organising an escape route for him to Dubai, a week before he was caught on his yacht attempting to flee.

Family doctor Adrian Vella, a friend of both Fenech and Schembri, has been implicated in the alleged escape plan, to go to Tunisia by boat, then travel to Dubai. The three allegedly held a meeting at Vella’s farmhouse in Gozo to discuss the plan.

Vella has been questioned by police of having passed messages to Fenech from the former OPM chief of staff last weekend, while Fenech was under police supervision.

Earlier today, the Nationalist MP and lawyer of the Caruana Galizia family issued a public statement on Facebook, accusing Keith Schembri of being “one of the criminal masterminds” in the assassination of the late journalist.

Schembri, the former chief of staff to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, resigned yesterday after being taken under arrest soon after Tumas magnate Yorgen Fenech was alleged to have name-dropped him during investigations into the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination.

“I write this out of my responsibility as a Member of Parliament,” Azzopardi said on Facebok. “Keith Schembri is one of the criminal masterminds in the assassination of Daphne. He paid out money for this.”

Azzopardi also said that Schembri had alerted the three men accused of carrying out the murder – George Degiorgio ‘ic-Ciniz’, Alfred Degiorgio ‘il-Fulu’, and Vincent Muscat ‘il-Kohhu’ – prior to their arrest in December 2017, “abusing of MSS secret information.”

Azzopardi added that as recently as last week, Schembri was sending written messages to Yorgen Fenech under police bail “telling him what to say and not”.

Azzopardi then turned his guns on Joseph Muscat. “You have blood on your hands. Filth, killers, corrupt, criminals. You have been keeping this inside you, defending Schembri for two years.”