A former local entrepreneur who introduced Yorgen Fenech to an Italian financier who could help him open a bank account abroad, testified in money laundering proceedings against the former Tumas businessman. 

Paul Hili was summoned as a prosecution witness in proceedings where Fenech, who stands separately charged with alleged complicity in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, stands accused of money laundering in connection with a local gaming company called Glimmer Limited. 

The elderly witness, who immediately identified Fenech in court, started off by saying that he has known Yorgen since his early teens, having also been acquainted to the accused’s late father. 

In April 2019, Fenech reached out to him, asking whether Hili could introduce him to someone who could help him open a bank account abroad. 

That was how Hili put Fenech in touch with Italian financier Mirko Albertazzi. 

The two eventually met but that bank account was not opened, said Hili, explaining that Albertazzi had contacted two banks in Monaco for that purpose.

Asked how he knew this, Hili replied that Albertazzi had communicated with him via email. 

Asked by AG lawyer Marthese Grech whether he knew of any other relationship between Albertazzi and Fenech, Hili said that at some later stage “there was some business discussion but nothing ever materialised”.

He used to communicate with Fenech normally via WhatsApp or through a phone call.

On another occasion, Fenech had informed him of some money which Albertazzi was meant to send him but had not done so.

“I put a lot of pressure on Mirko to send it,” recalled Hili.

“Do you know what that money was for,” asked presiding magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech. 

“I don’t know. All I know is that it was Yorgen’s money,” replied Hili, adding that since he had introduced the two, he was “basically just trying to help. Nothing else.”

Further pressed about this money, Hili said that, as far as he knew, the sum owed was €200,000.

There was a transfer of €40,000 and a pending balance of €160,000.

“I don’t know how they were paid. I just know that they were,” he said.

Earlier in Wednesday’s sitting, a banker working within the corporate finance unit of a local bank, testified about a particular transaction involving €40,000 which were to be accredited to Fenech’s account.

The witness, who back in 2019 served as relationship manager for the Tumas Group, handling bank matters for the group as well as Fenech’s personal accounts, recalled how she used to regularly communicate with the businessman vie emails and messages. 

One of those emails concerned the payment that concerned the sale of a horse, Prince di Poggio.

Payment was originally withheld until Fenech could supply additional supporting documentation.

Questioned about this by Fenech’s lawyer, Charles Mercieca, she explained that this procedure formed part of normal ongoing monitoring process by the bank. 

Once the necessary documents were produced, the funds were released.

Some time in June 2019, she received an email from Fenech along with an invoice regarding the sale of the horse, which she forwarded to the relative department to verify.

There was also an internal bank document, a SWIFT message, which was also produced and the funds released against the requested documentary evidence, the court was told.   

The case continues in September.

Inspector Brian Paul Camilleri prosecuted, assisted by AG lawyers Marthese Grech and Francesco Refalo. Lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran, Charles Mercieca and Marion Camilleri are counsel to Fenech. 

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