Casino Mogul to Receive a Pardon in Order to Reveal Corrupt Officials
July 15th, 2019 4.00pm
Located in the middle of the Mediterranean, with mild winters and hot summers, and with an estimated population of around 515,000, Malta looks like an ideal place to live.
But this small island nation was in a state of shock after a local investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered by a car bomb back in 2017. Many residents have seen such scenes only in action films, but a subsequent investigation was even more shocking as it revealed that some of the country’s most influential men were involved in the assassination.
Government Officials Involved in the Murder
The inquiry revealed that Caruana Galizia was investigating high-level corruption among the local politicians.
Soon, the authorities managed to identify the mastermind behind the scheme, thanks to a middleman who recruited the men who carried out the killing. In November last year, the police arrested one of the richest men in the country, a casino mogul Yorgen Fenech.
Former Chief Executive of the biggest brick and mortar casino operator in Malta, Tumas Gaming, Fenech was apprehended on his yacht, as was trying to leave the country.
Fenech, who’s currently on trial for organizing Caruana Galizia’s murder, says he wasn’t part of the scheme, claiming a mafia network was behind the assassination. The wealthy Maltese businessman stated the crime network also included former government officials.
Back in November, his lawyers announced Fenech would be willing to reveal the names of those involved in the murder, in return for a presidential pardon. They even filed an official request, which was later turned down.
Should Fenech Be Pardoned?
However, the leader of the Nationalist Party, Mark Anthony Sammut, said he could reconsider a presidential pardon, or even a reduced sentence if Fenech revealed the organized criminal group operating within the country’s government.
Sammut explained he firmly believed that much greater justice would be done to Caruana Galizia if the entire network of criminals were to be taken to court, instead of sending one pawn to jail. He also stated that information Fenech possessed could return millions of pounds, stolen from the people through various “projects”.
But Caruana Galizia’s son, Matthew, rejected this idea, saying the investigation needs to focus on all who took part in the murder of his mother.
Writing in a post on Facebook, Matthew Caruana Galizia pointed out the objective of the judicial process wasn’t to put a specific politician in jail but to achieve justice. Sending corrupt politicians behind bars should be regarded as a consequence of the efficient justice process, but not its goal.
The case even brought down the country’s government at the start of the year, after the prime minister Joseph Muscat resigned due to criticism of the way he handled the case and the fact that three of his close associates were involved in the scandal.
Keith Schembri, Muscat’s chief of staff, and two government ministers, Konrad Mizzi and Chris Cardona resigned following Fenech’s arrest.
Caruana Galizia’s investigation linked Schembri and Mizzi to two offshore companies that were about to receive a £1.6 million payment from an offshore business entity owned by Fenech.
Mizzi was the figure behind the £400 million power station project, whose construction was in 2013 awarded to a firm owned by none other than Yorgen Fenech.
The court documents reveal that former CEO claims Schembri was the one who organized the murder of Caruana Galizia. Fenech also stated Schembri had initially tried to frame Cardona.
Schembri has been investigated by police, but so far no charges have been made against him.
Fenech was arrested aboard his luxurious yacht