Allegations concerning Adrian Delia’s ties to suspected Caruana Galizia assassination mastermind Yorgen Fenech, “if proved to be true, would undermine his credibility and that of the party which he leads in its fight against corruption”, PN’s due diligence report has stated ahead of the party’s leadership election.
The 26-page report was published in full earlier this evening after a request by Opposition Leader Delia himself. It details comments made by a panel of three experts (Antonio Ghirlando, Clyde La Rosa and Mario P Galea) on both contenders’ allegations, among other things.
You can read the full report here.
Numerous allegations against Delia were in the due diligence exercise, with the report’s section concerning the PN Leader taking up a whole 10 pages when compared to his opponent’s one..
Reserved for last was the media report that Delia had exchanged WhatsApp messages with Yorgen Fenech, with one of the messages even involving an invite for a casual lunch. The crux of the allegations, of course, was that all of this reportedly happened after Fenech was identified as the benefical owner of 17 Black… but before he was implicated in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
“It is a well-known fact that political parties in Malta have close ties with the business community, and it is often alleged. that such ties are at times too close,” the report’s comments started. “However, the behaviour being alleged is not the mere communication between a prominent politican and a prominent businessman.
“To communicate with Mr Fenech, let alone to consider taking up his offer for lunch, after he had been identified as the benefical owner of 17 Black, if proved to be true, would constitute a serious lack of judicious behaviour on Dr Adrian Delia’s part.”
But the allegations concerning Yorgen Fenech weren’t the only ones analysed by the panel of experts, with everything from illegal earnings of a prostitution racket in Soho to the “kidnapping” of a Birkirkara goalkeeper being brought up.
In August 2017, it was Daphne Caruana Galizia herself who had reported that Delia had an offshore account with Jersey’s Barclays International which was being used to channel. illegal earnings of a prostitution racket in London’s Soho.
“The allegation is a most serious one,” the report starts. “Such a serious allegation would cast a dark shadow over any perosn, let alone a prominent politician.”
“If the allegations made by the press reports are proved to be true, in particular if the allegations that the FIAU has investigated the matter and issued a report which has concluded that Delia had a bank account in Jersey which ‘may have been used for money laundering’ are true, it would certainly render Dr Delia unfit for public office,” the experts stressed. “On the other hand, if Delia’s rebuttals are correct and the press reports are incorrect, then Delia would have had his reputation unjustly tarnished.”
Meanwhile, the Miroslav Kopric episode was also looked into. The 31-year-old Croatian goalkeeper being taken to a Dingli garage back in December 2016 and ordered to divulge wrongdoing in his performance with the football club… of which Delia was the President at the time.
“Independently of the motives which had induced the Birkirkara FC officials, including Dr Delia, to investigate the behaviour of one of their players, the matter could and should have been handled much better,” the report states. The panel goes on to dismiss Kopric’s claims that this was a “kidnapping”, however, saying “it is the manner of confronting a person being accused of wrongdonig that was inappropriate in this case”.
Another matter which was tackled saw Delia’s over €600,000 in loans which were declared last year in parliament.
Here, the panel found that meeting current financial commitments was “an ongoing task being faced by Delia”, stressing the fact that a large part of these commitments would be extinguished “should he dispose of a second property which he owns”.
Meanwhile, Grech’s section was substantially shorter… an expected reality seeing as the PN leadership contender has not had a prominent public function before now.
Minor procedural shortcomings with the managements of his Clients Account as a lawyer were highlighted, but no particular wrongdoing was detected.
The report does however make reference to a very recent adverse media report on Grech which came out a mere 11 days ago concerning his failure to submit tax returns and pay his tax on time. The panel did however also highlight the fact that these allegations came to light at a time when they were “in the process of commencing the conclusion of this Report”.
“In this regard, politicians should lead by example and, if anything, should be judged by higher standards,” the panel concluded chastisingly.
“The Panel feels that the PN Candidates Commission’s earlier declaration that both Contenders for the forthcoming leadership election was considered suitable was premature and without any basis.”
Some tough words were reserved for the report’s concluding remarks, which include the panel deeming the due diligence requirement “a step in the right direction” but clearly expecting more and better.
“The relevant PN organs need to act in an independent manner at all times, free from any political considerations or pressures,” the report continues.
“Similarly, the PN’s assertion that the duge dilgence mandated in terms of the PN Statue would only become obligatory from future elections was also out of place,” the report concludes. “If anything, this served to demoralise members of the Panel.”