Opposition leader Adrian Delia has confirmed that he deleted his WhatsApp chat with Yorgen Fenech but said his conversation with the man suspected of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia was insignificant.
“The messages were no longer recorded on my phone because I delete most of my messages that I don’t need,” Delia said in a recent F Living interview.
“I also said that I have no problem with the messages being published so long as they’re taken in context. Were these five messages sent over the period of one or two years or hundreds of messages that showed constant communication? It makes a difference.”
Earlier in the year, Times of Malta published a series of WhatsApp chats between Delia and Fenech in early 2019, before the businessman was arrested for the assassination of Caruana Galizia but after he was outed as the owner of the Dubai company 17 Black.
Fenech at one point asked Delia if he was up for an informal meal, with the PN leader thanking him for the offer and telling him he will ask his then head of media Pierre Portelli to organise it. Portelli has said Delia never actually asked him to organise such a meal.
Fenech also offered moral support to Delia after his wife accused him of domestic violence and after the PN was soundly trashed at last year’s European Parliament and local council elections.
Last weekend, MaltaToday published a brief chat from February 2019 in which Fenech sent Delia a meme of ‘Europe as seen through the eyes of the Maltese’ and the Opposition leader responded “Sadly true”.
Although the chats may be innocuous, Delia has changed his version of events of them several times since they were published by the press.
His immediate reaction after they were published by The Times was to claim they were “created” as part of a scheme organised by people within the Labour Party in an attempt to intimidate him from fighting against their corruption. However, he later called for a police investigation into how they were leaked.
Delia then said in three separate interviews that the chat had disappeared from his phone and suggested it must have been deleted by Fenech or the police, in clear contradiction of WhatsApp’s terms.
In his F Living interview, aired a few days after the police confirmed the legitimacy of these messages, Delia finally admitted that he had deleted them.
However, he said he had forgotten about them because they were so insignificant.
“If he showed me a map of Europe and all the mess there is and I responded with ‘how sad’, what’s wrong with that?”
“There’s no legal issue, I didn’t receive any dirty money, no one paid me to shut me up, I never conspired with someone to cover wrongdoing. That’s what’s important, not whether I knew when a message was sent.”
“If I had to show you my mobile, you’d see that I receive thousands of messages and emails every week.”
He claimed there are nefarious reasons behind the leak, which he said must have emerged from people who had access to Fenech’s phone.
“So many serious crimes have been alleged and Fenech allegedly spoke to so many people, but out of everything, it was [my chats with him] that were leaked to The Times and published on the front page, coincidentally at the same time as an attack on me was launched.”
“We need to find out when they were leaked, who leaked them, why they were leaked, and who has an interest in sharing them particularly in this leadership campaign.”
“Everyone knows that I’ve always fought for good governance, that I was never bought off and that I’ve never made any compromises. I think this is the crux of it all actually… it’s because I don’t make compromises with people who think they can pull my strings.”