Times sacks Ivan Camilleri after alleged tip-off to Yorgen Fenech mentioned in court

Times journalist Ivan Camilleri sacked, declines to comment and says he will fight ‘unfair dismissal’

Ivan Camilleri was sacked from The Times
Ivan Camilleri was sacked from The Times

Allied Newspapers has sacked the Times journalist Ivan Camilleri, multiple sources have confirmed, in connection with alleged communication he had with Yorgen Fenech on the eve of his attempted escape from Portomaso harbour.

The mention of an unnamed journalist was made on Thursday during the compilation of evidence against Fenech, accused with having masterminded the assassination of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The question was put by the Caruana Galizia family’s lawyer Jason Azzopardi during the examination of lead investigator Keith Arnaud, where he asked about a tip-off from a journalist that had been found in Fenech’s mobile phone.

Arnaud was not certain but said he believed that Fenech had been informed about what was happening in the news and his reaction was to leave the islands. The name of the journalist was not asked of Fenech, Arnaud says.

MaltaToday is informed that the police found a WhatsApp text from Yorgen Fenech to his uncle, Ray Fenech, in which he speaks of a certain ‘Ivan’ allegedly warning him of police interest.

Contacted by MaltaToday, Ivan Camilleri declined to comment: “I will not comment. I will be fighting this unfair dismissal.”

Fenech later attempted to escape the island from his Portomaso home aboard his luxury yacht. He was arrested and since then accused of being the mastermind in the assassination of Caruana Galizia.

In October, MaltaToday reported that Camilleri had been faced by the director of Naxxar’s Valyou supermarket, Ray Mintoff, over an alleged incident of shoplifting. Mintoff had admitted with MaltaToday that he brought the matter to the attention of Camilleri and got him to admit and pay for the items that were pilfered. Camilleri later paid in full for the goods that went unaccounted for.

When first contacted by MaltaToday, Camilleri had threatened legal action. “Your info is completely incorrect, a fiction [sic] of your imagination and a blatant lie. I am looking forward for your filthy story so that my lawyers can have some nice work to do. You have to stoop much lower to tarnish my reputation and integrity.”

Camilleri later claimed that he had “mistakenly placed some small items in the shopping cart which I forgot to pass through the counter for payment together with all my family’s shopping. The items were not hidden in any way.”

MaltaToday was told that staff manning the CCTV alerted management that Camilleri had an unspecified amount of highly-priced goods. Camilleri was personally contacted by the supermarket after the incident, to ‘discuss’ the matter.

Following the denial, MaltaToday managing editor Saviour Balzan filed for libel against Camilleri, to secure the CCTV footage.

The Times’s editors had stood by Camilleri, claiming MaltaToday’s report contained “malicious innuendo”.

Allied Newspapers confirms sacking

In a statement published on the Times of Malta website on Friday afternoon, the company confirmed that it had terminated Camilleri's employment.

"Following press reports, Allied Newspapers Limited confirms that it has terminated the employment of the Times of Malta senior journalist Mr Ivan Camilleri. This decision was taken after recent facts over a number of diverse issues were brought to the attention of the Company. Allied Newspapers Limited wishes to make it clear that Mr Camilleri is therefore no longer a member of the editorial staff of the company," the company said. 

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