Maltese casino operator arrested over journalist’s death

Posted On 11 Dec, 2019 0

The casino industry is always heightened with endless controversies and missteps that could immediately catch media attention. One such alarming case was the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia back in the year 2017. Before an outrage and the public protests in the Mediterranean island, Galizia reported on corruption, claiming that she had information about the high-level corruption between politicians and some world leaders.

She identified that a group of individuals were routing money in Dubai. However, the 53-year-old blogger was killed in a car bomb blast on October 16, leaving behind the Dubai-based 17 Black Limited case unconfirmed.

The former head of the casino operator Tumas Group Limited Yorgen Fenech was charged last week for allegedly masterminding the 2017 murder who was later detained from his yacht, allegedly trying to flee Malta in the early hours of 20 November. With media gaining interest, the entire investigation sent shockwaves in Europe’s gambling hub.

Fenech asked for a pardon in return for implicating three top government officials, who he claims were involved in the murder - Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri, tourism minister Konrad Mizzi, and economic minister Chris Cardona who had been planning secretive payments from Fenech’s company. The 38-year-old billionaire was in control of the operations at 17 Black, acting as a middleman in the illegal money transfer. The three murderers have been recorded to facilitate payments of €450,000.

Hundreds and thousands of protesters took to the street demanding Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to quit. On Saturday, Muscat declared his resignation on 18 January due to the allegation and accusations regarding the case. The journalist’s son, Andrew posted on Twitter that Muscat “has blood on his hands” for protecting the ones who are involved.

Muscat states that there is no information on linking politicians to the murder and asserted that his order for police to increase surveillance had prevented Fenech’s “potential escape.” However, Fenech only confirmed his name and few other personal details and his lawyer filed a plea of “not guilty”. If found accountable in the killing he will be facing life imprisonment.

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