Prime Minister Robert Abela is “without a doubt” being blackmailed as he refuses to take action over newly published chats between Yorgen Fenech and Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar, the PN said on Thursday.
PN MPs Claudette Buttigieg and Mark Anthony Sammut told a press conference that Cutajar might know something about the financing of the Labour Party or about Abela himself.
“What does Rosianne Cutajar know about the potentially illegal financing of the PL?,” Sammut told reporters.
“The prime minister is without a doubt being blackmailed because there is no logical reason why Rosianne Cutajar was allowed to run in the last (general) election when the facts in the chats were known; and in continuing to defend her now after the publication of the chats,” he said.
On Tuesday, author Mark Camilleri published thousands of messages between Cutjar and Yorgen Fenech, the businessman awaiting trial for his alleged role in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The chats were made between June and September 2019 a time when Cutajar was publicly dismissing calls for investigations into suspected corruption linked to Fenech.
The messages also reveal a close and intimate relationship between the two.
On Wednesday, Abela confirmed he had not asked Cutajar to resign as MP and does not intend to axe her from the party because she had already paid for her actions (when she resigned as parliamentary secretary) and should not be made to pay again.
Cutajar, who was parliamentary secretary for equality and reform, had bowed to pressure after reports by Times of Malta revealed how she had benefited from a property deal involving Yorgen Fenech. Fenech is awaiting trial for his alleged role in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Her resignation was confirmed in July 2021 when the investigation was concluded and found her in breach of ethics.
However, the PN believes that Cutajar is not facing expulsion from the PL because of what “she knows”.
Sammut decried police inaction over “evidence” in the chats of criminal activity that include bribery, money laundering, and trading in influence.
He said that Abela was continuing to defend Cutajar even though she had used her position as a member of the Council of Europe to defend Fenech and lied to the standards commissioner and the Maltese public over her role in the controversial property purchase.
Buttigieg said the chats showed a clear and close bond between the Labour Party and Fenech at a time when he was already known as the owner of 17 Black, the secret Dubai-registered company that was allegedly a vehicle for funds derived from corruption.
Buttigieg said that some intimate details revealed in the conversation were unnecessary, saying that what people did in their bedrooms was up to them.
“If they are of that level, it's their choice," she said.