Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech urged self-confessed middleman Melvin Theuma to be “100% sure everywhere is clean” prior to his arrest under the guise of a money-laundering probe.
Theuma, who turned state witness in the murder case, has been offering testimony backed by secret recordings found during his arrest of conversations he had with Fenech.
Messages exchanged between Fenech and Theuma in the days and hours before the self-confessed middleman’s arrest on November 14 show both were aware the police were soon going to carry out a raid.
At one point during the exchanges between Fenech and Theuma on November 12 and 13, the middleman even appeared to be trying to negotiate the terms of his arrest with Fenech.
Theuma demanded that “the women”, a reference to his partner and her daughter, not be dragged into the money-laundering case.
“Listen to me, fight this, if need be, there should be a bit more time so it doesn’t take place this Saturday [November 16],” Theuma said, adding “so everyone can keep going on with their lives”.
With the arrest originally planned for November 16, the police were forced to swoop earlier without their Europol partners after it became evident that Theuma had been tipped off.
Times of Malta revealed last week that Theuma appeared to have “deleted” some of the recordings of conversations with third parties.
Theuma even complained that he had not been informed “about the places” where the raids would be carried out.
The middleman, who owns several properties, testified in court last week that he had been promised a list of the locations that the police would be raiding.
You are a true man, if we avoid this I will be happy, because I know what I need to do
In response to his concerns, Fenech promised he was doing everything possible to sort out “the women”.
“Please believe me.”
“I haven’t managed to change the date [of the arrest]. If it were up to me nothing would happen, not now and not in a year’s time…”
Fenech also appeared to try calm Theuma by assuring him that “Ray” was going to carry out the arrest.
Theuma said in court this week that Johann Cremona, an associate of Yorgen Fenech, told him he would be spoken to by Raymond Aquilina, a senior police officer within the economic crimes unit.
“See if you can speak to him so we do it in two weeks,” Theuma replied in a later message.
The raid on Theuma’s properties was carried out under the guise of a money-laundering investigation being led by a different officer within the unit.
Apart from the reference to “Ray”, Theuma also urged Fenech to speak to the “top guy from Luqa”, who Theuma confirmed in court was a reference to former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar.
Times of Malta has previously reported how Cutajar carried out an unexpected meeting with an associate of Theuma, during which he fished for information about the secret recordings taken by the middleman in conversations with Fenech.
Cutajar maintains that he explained to investigators the reason behind the meetings and he was merely acting in a bid to secure the secret recordings.
Former head of the criminal investigations department Silvio Valletta has also faced accusations of leaking information about the investigation to Fenech.
In the final few messages exchanged on November 13, Theuma tells Fenech he is having trouble sleeping because of the worry about his partner and her daughter being caught up in the money-laundering probe.
“I know and you are right, we definitely need to avoid this,” Fenech said in response.
The final message from Theuma reads: “You are a true man, if we avoid this I will be happy, because I know what I need to do.”
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