Maltese businessman charged with complicity in journalist’s murder

Daphne Caruana Galizia. Wikimedia Commons/Continentaleurope

Nov. 30 (UPI) — Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech pleaded not guilty Saturday to complicity in the 2017 murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

A magistrate judge remanded Fenech into custody and he was taken to the Corradino prison, the Malta Independent reports. The court has also frozen Fenech’s assets.

At a Saturday-night hearing, Fenech was charged with promoting, organizing or financing a criminal association with the intention of committing criminal offenses; actively participating in criminal association; being complicit in the murder of Caruana Galizia; and associating with people with the intention of committing a crime.

On Tuesday Keith Schembri, the chief of staff to Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat resigned amid an investigation of the death of Caruana Galizia in a 2017 car bombing.

Two other government officials — tourism minister Konrad Mizzi and economy minister Chris Cordona — have also stepped down.

Activists, including Caruana Galizia’s family, have called on Muscat to resign as well.

Three men — brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio and their friend Vincent Muscat — with triggering the bomb itself. More recent investigation has focused on who ordered the killing and why.

Until his recent resignation from both roles, Fenech, 38, served as the head of the Tumas business group and a director of the energy company Electrogas.

Last year he was identified as the owner of a Dubai-registered company called 17 Black, which is listed in the Panama Papers, a collection of leaked confidential documents showing how wealthy and powerful companies around the world use tax havens to get around the law. Caruana Galizia wrote about 17 Black less than a year before her death, linking its operation with Schembri and Mizzi.


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