Self-confessed murder middleman Melvin Theuma visited Castille in November 2017, just three weeks after he played a role in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

This was the second time Theuma visited the prime minister’s office, having been given a phantom job by former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri six months before the journalist’s murder.

The middleman met Schembri’s former assistant Charlene Bianco Farrugia on November 10. The meeting was set up by the suspected mastermind behind the assassination, Yorgen Fenech, who is a childhood friend of Schembri.

Fenech has claimed the former chief of staff was a co-conspirator in the murder, an allegation denied by Mr Schembri.

Bianco Farrugia was tasked with solving a problem the middleman was having with Transport Malta as a result of roadworks outside his property in Żurrieq.

Theuma, who was granted a pardon to tell all about the murder, has not offered any testimony in court about this second Castille meeting.

That same month of the meeting, the former chief of staff had already started to leak information about a breakthrough in the murder probe and an impending raid on the suspected triggermen, according to testimony given by Fenech.

A few weeks after the raid, both Schembri and Bianco Farrugia were invited by the suspected mastermind to a party celebrating a financing milestone in the power station project.

Fenech was the lead Maltese businessman in the project, which also features German giants Siemens and Azerbaijan’s state-owned energy company Socar.

Bianco Farrugia did not respond to a request for comment about the nature of her contact with Theuma and Fenech.

Investigators view Fenech’s ownership of 17 Black and planned secret payments to Schembri via his Panama company as a possible motive behind Caruana Galizia’s murder.

These two meetings are not the only contact the murder middleman had with OPM officials.

Kenneth Camilleri, who was on former prime minister Joseph Muscat’s security detail, admitted in court last week that he had met Theuma. However, he denied telling Schembri about the meeting.

His account jars with secret recordings Theuma took of conversations with Fenech.

In one conversation after Camilleri’s surprise visit, Fenech admits it was Schembri who sent Dr Muscat’s security man to speak to the middleman.

“He got into this for me. He stepped into the fire for me,” Fenech says of his childhood friend in the recorded conversation.

In another part of the conversation, Fenech says Schembri “panicked” when he learned that Vince Muscat, one of the three alleged hitmen, was seeking a presidential pardon to reveal information about Theuma’s role in the assassination.

Vince Muscat’s request for a pardon was turned down upon a recommendation by the police in April 2018.

Details of the pardon were discussed in a meeting with the former prime minister and his chief of staff.

Last year, Vince Muscat’s lawyer Arthur Azzopardi summoned both Dr Muscat and Schembri as witnesses in the eventual trial for the three triggermen.

Azzopardi suddenly renounced his brief for Vince Muscat last October, a few weeks after Times of Malta first reported a businessman was the suspected mastermind behind the murder.

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