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MALTATODAY 28 November 2021

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4 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 28 NOVEMBER 2021 NEWS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 In their criminal complaint and in the subsequent court ap- plication, Fenech's lawyers ac- cuse Theuma of misleading the inquiring magistrate by lying about the existence of record- ings which pointed to the in- volvement of third parties in the murder. When asked about these re- cordings, they said, "he had lied and claimed to have disposed of them and that they no longer ex- ist. Apart from the fact that this constitutes perjury in and of it- self, these recordings were found and their contents reveal all the lies and contradictions made by Melvin Theuma." They also alleged that Theuma lied about his connections to the police, who would supply him with information and what this information consisted of. In addition to this, they said Theuma had testified over 15 times in the compilation of evi- dence against Fenech. "He per- jured himself about, for example, who was involved in the mur- der and who paid for it. About his connection with the police, how many persons were giving him information to escape the police, who they were and what information they were passing on. Or, for example, about how many different persons he had recorded, who they are and what the contents of these recordings are." The court application states that Theuma had withheld infor- mation whilst testifying, saying that it is crucial to keep in mind Theuma's sworn testimony be- fore the existence of recordings between him and Johann Cre- mona was revealed. Theuma had thought these recordings had "disappeared once and for all," claim the lawyers, empha- sising to the court that Theuma was obliged to tell it everything he knows about the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. In the challenge application, Fenech's lawyers state that they had subsequently been informed by email on 15 November that the police did not want to act on the criminal complaint in ques- tion. Fenech declared that he was now taking an oath on the crim- inal complaint he had submitted and was ready to bind himself under penalty of a sum fixed by the court to testify, if sum- moned, or give the court any evidence in his possession with which Melvin Theuma can be convicted. Lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran, Marion Camilleri and Charles Mercieca are appearing for Fenech. Theuma recordings The lawyers say that Theuma in court had denied knowing who was financing the assassi- nation, but that the secret re- cordings indicate that Cremona had told him who had paid the Degiorgio brothers €350,000: "He collected €100,000... Alfred and George don't know them... he got them from the freema- sons," Cremona is quoted as saying. "And Arthur didn't even given them to Koħħu?" Theuma replies, referencing the accused Vincent Muscat il-Koħħu and his former lawyer Arthur Azzo- pardi. In another quoted phone con- versation, Theuma is heard say- ing: "Koħħu got €300,000... the cash is still at Arthur Azzopar- di." The lawyers also say that Theu- ma is heard saying in his record- ings that there are four people involved in the assassination and that he knows that former Labour minister Chris Cardona is involved in the plot, but that Cardona "knows too much on the Degiorgios for them to shop him". Theuma, a taxi driver and fix- er who ran an illegal lottery that netted him hundreds of thou- sands, was granted a Presiden- tial pardon over his part in var- ious serious crimes in exchange for his testimony "on the whole truth" in criminal proceedings against those involved in the 2017 murder. He turned over a cache of se- cret recordings of conversations he had with several people, in- cluding Yorgen Fenech, who is indicted for having commis- sioned the murder, to investi- gators. Hours of the recordings have been played in court. From the witness stand, Theu- ma had insisted amongst oth- er things, that "only Yorgen Fenech" had masterminded the murder. Doubts, however, are now being raised in court about aspects of Theuma's testimony. Theuma police challenge Theuma's lawyers have also hit back at Yorgen Fenech, filing a criminal complaint in which he accuses the Tumas magnate of the crime of calumny and intim- idation of witnesses. They have now requested that the police formally investigate Fenech in a police challenge of their own. Theuma's lawyers said Fenech's criminal complaint was an attempt at intimidating the middleman. "Theuma has said nothing but the truth in his testimony, repeatedly and cat- egorically having declared that the mastermind in the Carua- na Galizia assassination is Yor- gen Fenech," Theuma's lawyers Matthew Brincat and Kathleen Calleja Grima said. "It was Fenech who instruct- ed Theuma to give instructions to the executors of the crime to kill Caruana Galizia, and it was Fenech who passed on the mon- ey to Theuma to pass them on to these same actors." Crucial to Theuma's criminal complaint are voice recordings, as well as Signal messages be- tween him and Fenech, which were exhibited in the criminal proceedings against Fenech: Theuma says this evidence shows clearly Fenech's involve- ment in the murder of Caruana Galizia. "This in itself already shows that Fenech's complaint on its own is an act of calumny when there is proof that Theu- ma has stated the truth," the lawyers said. Theuma complaint In his criminal complaint, Theuma exhibited various ex- tracts from the recordings pre- sented to the court proceedings against Fenech. In one of these recordings, Fenech is quoted as admitting his involvement by saying that Theuma should not worry as much about his role in the mur- der than who actually commis- sioned it. In a second quotation, Fenech is heard telling Theuma that he had passed on the money for the killers to the middleman, a refer- ence to court testimony in which Theuma spoke of the executors demanding €30,000 before the hit, but that Fenech paid off the €150,000 sum in one fell swoop. Apart from the voice record- ings exhibited in his criminal complaint, Theuma also pre- sented a screenshot of a Signal message in which he and Fenech are discussing the Caruana Galizia murder. In it Fenech is quoted as saying: "Step by step, keep calm, tell Maksar that he's already said that (the bomb) was done in their garage in Ħaz-Żeb- buġ" – ostensibly a reference to information that was being giv- en to investigators by Vincent Muscat 'il-Koħħu' on the Agi- us brothers, also known as the Maksar gang, and their role in the assassination (Biċċa biċċa, Żomm kalm, Wasslu lil Maksar li diġa qal li inħadmet għand- hom fil-garage Ħaż-Żebbuġ). In other messages, the lawyers say Fenech tries to calm down Theuma on the eve of his arrest in an anti-money laundering raid: "Come on mate... courage, this will pass and we will all relax once and for all... this will pass, if we keep our heads about us, it will blow over 100%, I'm behind you always." Another set of messages shows Fenech saying: "But be assured, nobody can touch me, know this, that's why I'm only worried about you, otherwise nobody can fuck with me... today you're my brother, and your son is my son, I cannot tell you more than that. I will be here even in the worst of moments, and if you stay strong, they will have to kiss our balls." Accused and middleman go to war in court bid for police investigations Theuma (centre), who has been granted a presidential pardon, has provided police with important recordings that have been used in the case against Yorgen Fenech

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