Inland Revenue Commissioner Marvin Gaerty was questioned by police in recent months over a message he sent in 2014 to murder suspect Yorgen Fenech in connection with resolving a “VAT issue” out of court.

Sources told Times of Malta that VAT inspectors had found irregularities following an inspection at Portomaso, where the Tumas empire is based.

The sources said the 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.

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

“However, I cannot divulge specific information due to secrecy obligations. Also, it is the Tax Compliance Unit that decides which companies to audit. I have never interfered in their work.”

Police inspector Kurt Zahra told the public inquiry into journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder that data extracted from devices linked to Fenech featured “various communications with several public figures” as well as “an enormous amount of data concerning people from all levels of society”.


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