Exchanges between MP Rosianne Cutajar and murder suspect Yorgen Fenech shed further light on her role in brokering a €3.1 million Mdina property deal and her familiarity with the millionaire businessman, sources told Times of Malta.
Cutajar and her associate Charles Farrugia, known as It-Tikka, have both tried to downplay her involvement in the property transaction, with the MP insisting she never did any business with Fenech.
However, the sources said the exchanges between the pair show Cutajar was given a €9,000 cut from a pile of cash handed to her by Fenech after he went to Bank of Valletta in August 2019 to secure a loan for the property deal.
After the pair met, Fenech messaged Cutajar to inform her that there was an extra €9,000 in the cash pile for her, over and above the €31,000 in brokerage fees due to Farrugia.
“Thank goodness you told me, as I was going to keep on going with it [the money] straight to him [Farrugia], but he told me he’s not home,” Cutajar said in the message.
In a follow-up message, Fenech explained he was too shy to tell her he had put in an extra €9,000 for her.
Cutajar said in the exchange that there was no need for the extra money.
“I know how much you have done for me,” sources say Cutajar told the owner of secret company 17 Black. She further told Fenech that €9,000 was a lot of money, and a small birthday present to serve as a memento of him would have been more than enough.
I know how much you have done for me
In the wake of Times of Malta’s revelations linking her to Fenech, Cutajar announced what she described as a conditional resignation from cabinet on Thursday, pending the outcome of an ethics probe by Standards Commissioner George Hyzler. In a statement uploaded on Facebook, Cutajar said that over the past few weeks, she had been subjected to “several unfair attacks”, political spin and misleading comments.
Later, the government published her letter of resignation to Prime Minister Robert Abela and said he “welcomed the resignation, pending the outcome of the investigation”. He thanked her for “putting the interests of the government and the country before her personal interests”.
The MP is separately being chased by the Mdina property seller to pay back a €46,500 brokerage fee she is alleged to have taken on the same deal.
The deal signed between Fenech and the seller catered for a 1% brokerage fee amounting to €31,000 to be paid by the businessman and a 3% fee to be paid by the seller.
According to an affidavit drawn up by the seller, he paid €46,500 to Cutajar and another €46,500 to her associate after Fenech dished out €300,000 in cash upon signing the promise of sale agreement.
The following month, Cutajar fought tooth and nail within the Council of Europe to water down a critical report about the death of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, for which Fenech stands accused.
The MP had even lobbied within the council for the removal of a reference to 17 Black and government corruption in the June 2019 resolution about the rule of law in Malta.
At no point during her lobbying efforts did she disclose her close relationship with Fenech.
Rule of law NGO Repubblika has also pointed out that Cutajar last year voted against the setting up of a public inquiry into the Electrogas power station deal, in which Fenech was a pivotal player.
She did not disclose any conflict of interest to parliament prior to the vote.
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