Silvio Valletta, the disgraced former Deputy Police Commissioner, called off a police operation to question Yorgen Fenech on his links to 17 Black, months before Fenech’s arrest over the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Another controversial figure in the police, former Economic Crimes Unit Head Ian Abdilla, was ordered to go speak to Fenech at Portomaso to question him on the issue, former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar told a public inquiry today.
However, Valletta told Abdilla that Fenech was “sick” and would not be reached that day, which was sometime in 2019. For some reason, the police chose not to pursue this avenue further.
Cutajar continued to back Valletta in the courtroom, despite Valletta already being named as a potential leak in the investigation in secret recordings, and his close relationship with Fenech now revealed.
“I have complete faith in Valletta. I do not know how Valletta knew [Fenech] was sick,” Cutajar said.
It has since been revealed that Valletta features heavily in state witness Melvin Theuma’s secret recordings, in particular with relation to leaks from the police investigation.
These details included the arrest of the three men charged with carrying out the murder, murder suspect Vince Muscat’s potential pardon, information that their phones were wiretapped, and that Chris Cardona’s number was discovered on the phone of one of Daphne’s killers.
Valletta, who is referred to as “Valletta l-oħxon” in Theuma’s secret recordings of Fenech, was leading the case into the assassination until he was forcibly removed by court order.
He was the one who set up unprecedented briefings with former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his chief of staff Keith Schembri on the case. The briefings started soon after the murder and continued up until a month before Theuma’s arrest.
Valletta was revealed to have held intimate dinners with Fenech and to have gone abroad with him on at least two occasions. Meanwhile, there exists a video of Valletta “fooling around” in Fenech’s Rolls Royce.
Despite the issues, Cutajar insisted that he still had faith in Valletta.
Cutajar also revealed in the sitting that newly appointed Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg had advised police to keep Valletta on the case despite conflicts of interest.
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