Police have released former Labour minister Konrad Mizzi and ex-OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri after a day of questioning by the unit that investigates financial crime. 

Both were grilled by police from the economic crimes unit as part of what is understood to be an investigation into trading in influence linked to businessman Yorgen Fenech.

Mizzi was released unconditionally shortly before 5pm on Wednesday, more than 24 hours after he was arrested. Schembri left about an hour later, according to sources close to the investigation.

He was released on police bail.

Police have yet to comment on the interrogations but sources say the former high-profile political figures are being asked about suspicious conversations with Fenech, who stands accused of murdering journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Mizzi was called in for questioning on Tuesday and was detained overnight while Schembri was arrested at around 7am on Wednesday morning at his Mellie─ža home. 

Lawyer Jean Paul Sammut declines to explain why his client has been called in for questioning by police. Video: Ivan Martin

The probe into communication between the pair and Fenech, at the time the head of the Tumas Group business empire, is understood to be part of a wider investigation into suspected trading in influence.

Lawyers Jean Paul Sammut and ex-magistrate Carol Peralta, and Edward Gatt and Mark Vassallo, for Schembri entered and exited the ─Žamrun headquarters of the economic crimes unit throughout Wednesday but have made no comment.

Schembri and Mizzi both resigned their high-profile positions almost exactly a year ago amid the fall out of the Caruana Galizia murder investigation.

The journalist had been the first to reveal in 2016 - when Mizzi was energy minister - that both political figures had secret off shore companies, later confirmed in the global Panama Papers leak.

According to emails revealed by Times of Malta, Panama companies owned by Mizzi and Schembri stood to receive payments from another company, 17 Black later revealed to be owned by Fenech.

Fenech was one of the directors of Electrogas, which was awarded a lucrative power station contract.

Earlier this year, Times of Malta also revealed how Fenech secretly made a €4.6 million “profit” via his secret company 17 Black off Enemalta’s decision to buy a wind farm in Montenegro.

Schembri was briefly arrested in September in connection with an investigation into an alleged €100,000 kickback he took on passport sales from his auditor Brian Tonna. He was released without charge and remained on police bail.

In December 2019 he was called in for police questioning in connection with a phantom job given to Daphne Caruana Galizia murder middleman Melvin Theuma.

He was previously arrested and questioned over claims that he was a co-conspirator in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, but later released without charge. 

He resigned as the Prime Minister's chief of staff shortly before being called in by police in connection with the murder. 

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