Yorgen Fenech, the main suspect in the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination, tried to import cyanide sometime after the murder, investigators have told the court.
In this morning’s sitting, Inspector Kurt Zahra confirmed that there is evidence to suggest so, while under questioning from lawyer Jason Azzopardi.
Zahra also gave some indications over the potential motive. He said that while the Economic Crimes Unit are handling the investigation, investigators believe that Caruana Galizia was murdered over something she was going to write and not something that was published already.
Recently, Matthew Caruana Galizia, Daphne’s son, indicated that it could the Electrogas leaks. He said Electrogas defaulting on a major €600 million government-guaranteed loan and triggering a collapse in the government’s credit rating could be a motive behind the murder.
Daphne Caruana Galizia and her son were working on an extensive Electrogas leak at the time of her murder, with the reveal that director and main suspect Yorgen Fenech was the owner of 17 Black hot on their tail.
It’s since been revealed that there was even a €28,000 party to celebrate the loan extension at Level 22, the club on the top floor of Fenech’s Portomaso Tower.
The 138-person guest list was filled with illustrious figures, including former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his wife Michelle, Keith Schembri’s personal assistant Charlene Farrugia Bianco and Neville Gafa.
Fenech was one of three ElectroGas directors and a principal shareholder. The consortium was selected to build and operate the LNG power station in Delimara back in October 2013, with a deal eventually signed in April 2015.
Azeri state energy company Socar, who is a shareholder in Electrogas, purchases gas from standard suppliers like Shell and re-sells the stock at a benchmarked value to Electrogas, which transports the gas in liquid form and holds it in a tanker nestled in Delimara Bay.
It is then converted to energy and distributed among homes in Malta.
The 18-year deal has long raised eyebrows, with Malta often paying a higher rate than most European counterparts, all while analysis indicates that Socar made close to €32 million in 2017 alone.
Meanwhile, Caruana Galizia herself honed in on the fact that the Maltese government had guaranteed a €360 million loan taken out by Electrogas Malta.
State witness Melvin Theuma claimed that Fenech once said that Daphne’s murder was the last thing he needed to do to close the Electrogas chapter.
The deal has long been potentially linked to Fenech’s 17 Black, the Dubai company named as the “target client” for the Panama companies belonging to former Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and former chief of staff Keith Schembri.
A report by the FIAU found that 17 Black had received at least three payments – one of €161,000 from Maltese local agent for the tanker supplying gas to the LNG power station and two separate payments amounting to €1.1 million from Baratzada through ABLV Bank.
ABLV was recently raised in one of Latvia’s most extensive investigations into money laundering yet.
More recently, 17 Black was found to be at the centre of a dubious deal involving the purchase of a Montenegro wind farm by Malta’s state-owned Enemalta plc.
Recent reports by Reuters and Times of Malta uncovered that the Maltese government had agreed to pay out €10.3 million for a Montenegro wind farm that had just been bought for €2.9 million two weeks prior.
According to Reuters and the Daphne Caruana Galizia foundation, the other company linked to deal, Cifidex, is connected to Turab Musayev, a former Electrogas director. Musayev has denied any wrongdoing and has said he had no reason to suspect Fenechs involvement in Caruana Galizia’s murder. He said Cifidex had its own independent management and that his business with Fenech involved due diligence from reputable and established bankers, accountants and lawyers.