Keith Schembri attended multiple Security Service briefings in which Fenech-Theuma link was discussed

PM’s chief of staff was privy to Security Service details on 17 Black owner, but was later dropped from MSS briefings

Keith Schembri knew that the MSS had been investigating Yorgen Fenech and Melvin Theuma.
Keith Schembri knew that the MSS had been investigating Yorgen Fenech and Melvin Theuma.

The Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri attended multiple meetings between his boss, the Malta Security Service and the police, MaltaToday has learnt.

Earlier, this newspaper reported that Schembri – who is being interrogated in connection with the murder investigation of Daphne Caruana Galizia – had been privy to details from the MSS that pointed at Yorgen Fenech as one of the main suspects in the assassination.

MaltaToday has learnt that there were multiple meetings in which the MSS discussed the connection between the Tumas magnate and taxi driver Melvin Theuma, a middleman employed to channel payment and instructions to the three men who carried out the murder of Caruana Galizia.

One source who spoke to MaltaToday said the MSS had suggested to the prime minister that the government should keep relations with Fenech, a shareholder in the Electrogas consortium, as “business as usual” so as not to raise any suspicions.

Keith Schembri already had a close relationship with Fenech, the latter the owner of the 17 Black offshore company identified as a “target client” of the two Panama companies secretively set up by Schembri and then energy minister Konrad Mizzi.

Another source however said that Muscat maintained his relationship with Fenech throughout the course of these events, with messages traded between the two – but nothing connected to the murder, the source adds.

Eventually, Schembri was dropped from the MSS briefings, the source says.

In the course of these events, the police managed to establish a connection between Fenech, Theuma, the Degiorgio brothers and Vincent Muscat in May 2018, with a case apparently finalised by December 2018. A plan to reel in Melvin Theuma as a means to get to the others was devised in March 2019, but all along, the case stalled – up until the latest developments with the arrest of Theuma in an anti-money laundering operation.

Implications

The information sheds new light on the role of Keith Schembri, as well as Joseph Muscat, if Yorgen Fenech had been made aware of any potential interest from the law before his arrest.

But Fenech has told police that it was the chief of staff of Malta’s prime minister, Keith Schembri, who was the mastermind behind the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Still 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 was in fact just over a year ago that Muscat signed an MSS order to tap the phone conversations between Fenech and the alleged middleman in the assassination, Melvin Theuma.

The Times also reported that the MSS had been tapping the phone conversations of the Tumas magnate for 15 months.

MaltaToday is informed that it was the Prime Minister who signed the order. Such warrants are signed by either the home affairs minister, or the prime minister.

Muscat told the media that he had met Fenech in February 2019 at a social event.

The police have also examined conversations secretly recorded by Theuma on his mobile phone with Yorgen Fenech, which have been placed in the hands of a magistrate.

The recordings allegedly reveal that Fenech paid the three men who carried out the execution of Caruana Galizia, the sum of €450,000, through Theuma.

Some of the recordings were taken by Theuma when the taxi driver would be in conversation with Fenech about the aftermath of the assassination, most specifically when the three accused – George Degiorgio, Alfred Degiorgio, and Vincent Muscat – were being refused bail by the courts.

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