Inland Revenue Commissioner Marvin Gaerty has been questioned by police as part of an investigation into trading in influence involving businessman Yorgen Fenech. 

Times of Malta is informed that investigators are looking into a 2014 message exchange between Gaerty and Fenech, who stands accused of conspiring to murder journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

An analysis of Fenech's mobile phone has prompted a series of probes by financial crime investigators. 

Asked by Times of Malta why he was being interrogated by the police, Gaerty said on Tuesday morning "same as last time... because of some messages of Yorgen Fenech."

Marvin Gaerty explains why he has been interrogated by police this week. Video: Kristina Abela

He said that it was "normal" as Commissioner for Inland Revenue, that he would get involved in administrative tax matters with Fenech.

"All my life at the Inland Revenue Department I've been assisting taxpayers with problems. That's my normal work," he said.

Gaerty was also questioned on Monday and police sources said Gaerty’s office is expected to be searched later on Tuesday afternoon.  

Last month, Times of Malta reported on the messages exchange between Gaerty and Fenech, which is understood to revolve around resolving a “VAT issue” out of court. 

VAT inspectors found irregularities following an inspection at the Portomaso tower in St Julian's, where the Fenechs’ Tumas business empire is based.

Despite the irregularities, tax authorities had opted against going to court, with the dispute instead being settled through an administrative fine as allowed by law.

According to the sources, Fenech did not wish for his father, who was ill at the time, to have to go through court proceedings.

The sources said Gaerty had told Fenech in the message that no court proceedings would be brought against him.

Contacted in November, Gaerty had said he had been questioned about “one message” in 2014.

“I gave a full explanation and provided them with full correspondence on the matter,” he said.

Gaerty had said he had no relationship at all with Fenech and was never offered any gifts by the business magnate. Questioned if tax authorities had ever investigated 17 Black, Gaerty said all cases cited in the media have been subject to an audit.

The case is not understood to be connected to another trading in influence investigation involving the prime minister's former chief of staff Keith Schembri and ex-Labour minister Konrad Mizzi.

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