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WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT WEDNESDAY EDITION WEDNESDAY • 12 August 2015 • issue 428 • published every wednesdAy And sundAy €1.00 EDITORIAL PAGE 10 Newspaper post Danish woman 'strangled to death' Pathologists confirm that Vera Holm's cause of death was asphyxia by way of strangulation MIRIAM DALLI 72YEAROLD Vera Bodil Engel- brecht Holm was strangled to death, the Police confirmed yes- terday. The Danish national, who was found dead, naked and face down in a pool of water, had been miss- ing for two days before she was found by a man in Wied il-Kapuc- cini, Victoria. The investigation, taken over by the homicide squad, had treated the case as suspicious. Patholo- gists yesterday confirmed that "the cause of death of the deceased was one due to asphyxia by way of strangulation". "Investigations into this case are actively in progress and the police are once again appealing to anyone who has information on this case to come forward or call on tele- phone numbers 119 or 2122 4001," the Police said. The Police commented that due to suspicious circumstances, they were treating the case as a wilful homicide. Initial autopsy investigations had found that the woman suffered a broken rib and bruises to the head and chest. Holm's body was found to be at an advanced stage of de- composition, complicating the fo- rensic investigation. "The scorching summer heat and the environment accelerated the body's decomposition. This has made it extremely hard for the forensic experts to close in on the cause of death and had to ana- lyse further samples and carry out more tests." Holm's body was found naked in Wied il-Kappucini, facing down in a pool of water. None of her belongings – her handbag which contained a smartphone and €300 - was found. PAGE 2 Gaffarena, Peter Caruana Galizia, B Tagliaferro group, and others in ownership of Palazzo Verdelin MAT THEW VELLA THE government has denied once again its intention to ac- quire Valletta's Palazzo Verde- lin, which it leases to house the capital city's police station. In a statement, the government denied suggestions that it was accommodating property entre- preneur Marco Gaffarena's in- tention to acquire the building, to benefit from a hefty compen- sation for its expropriation by the State. Instead the government re- sponded to claims of corruption by shadow justice minister Jason Azzopardi, that the Hostel de Verdelin – a 17th century palaz- zo built by Grandmaster de Ver- dalle's nephew Fra Jean Jacques de Verdelin – was not about to be expropriated by the govern- ment. It revealed that in October 2014, Ganado Advocates in- formed the Commissioner of Lands that the property's own- ers – the heirs of Antonio Zam- mit, Marco Gaffarena, and the firm B. Tagliaferro and Sons Ltd – were demanding the property to be vacated and returned to its owners. The 12 owners who receive rent were identified as Deborah Bonello Du Puis, Tanya Borg Cardona, Peter Caruana Gal- izia, Therese Demajo, Mark Gaf- farena, Yvonne Galea, Charles Grech, Malcolm Soler, B Taglia- ferro and Sons Ltd., Dorothy & Mark Zammit, Joe Zammit, and Victor Zammit. "As per procedure, the Lands Department informed the per- manent secretary of this re- quest. The ministry's decision was a conscious one to enter le- gal procedures in a bid to retain its rental of the property, not buy it or expropriate it," the govern- ment said. "This statement of facts expos- es the Opposition to its own lies, and its bid to cover up its close relationship with the Gaffare- nas, and the lies of its own depu- ty leader [Beppe Fenech Adami] in hiding his connection with these people. The test for the Opposition leader is whether he will take steps against his deputy leader." An investigation by the Prime Minister's Internal Audit and In- vestigations Department (IAID) is already underway on both the alleged Verdelin expropriation, as well as that on the Old Mint Street palazzo expropriated at €1.65 million for Marco Gaffare- na's 50% ownership. SEE MORE ON PAGE 6 PHOTOGRAPHY BY: ROBERT MANGION The woman's body was found in Wied il-Kapucini in Gozo. Inset: Vera Holm The government insisted it has no intention to acquire Palazzo Verdelin (above)

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