Alleged murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech has, through his lawyers, flatly denied a claim by Daphne Caruana Galizia's son, that he was funding or had funded the defence of two brothers charged with having a role in the journalist's assassination.

Fenech’s lawyers described the claim as “baseless and unfounded” and accused Matthew Caruana Galizia of attempting to “distort and adversely influence” their client’s trial.

“For the avoidance of doubt, any claim that Mr Fenech funds the defence of the Degiorgio brothers is being categorically denied," they said in a statement.

"Rather than focusing on diversionary tactics one is invited to re-focus their attention on the search for the truth,” lawyers Charles Mercieca and Gianluca Caruana Curran said.

On Wednesday, Matthew Caruana Galizia posted on Twitter: “He who pays the piper. The defence of the hitmen was/is funded by Yorgen Fenech, who is himself being prosecuted for complicity in the assassination.”

The assassination middleman, Melvin Theuma, had previously told a court that he had requested €30,000 from Yorgen Fenech to pay for the legal defence of the Degiorgio brothers. He had said Fenech said he had expected he would be asked to pay. Theuma said he would send the money to Degiorgios’ brother Mario, and that Fenech had said that should the Degiorgios get bail, he would also pay them.

Caruana Galizia was reacting to a report on Wednesday about a letter Alfred and George Degiorgio sent to European Commissioner Didier Reynders. They told Reynders that the government had a conflict of interest in its assessment of their requests for a pardon.

The brothers claimed that the government had rejected their request because it did not want to hear the information they had on the alleged involvement of former economy minister Chris Cardona in the assassination and the involvement of Minister Carmelo Abela in “serious crimes”.

The state can never fairly assess the brothers’ requests, their lawyer, William Cuschieri, said in the letter.

Both Cardona and Abela have denied involvement in any of the criminal cases mentioned.

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