French prosecutors have opened an investigation into Yorgen Fenech and his assets in France, following a criminal complaint filed by the family of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, French media reported on Wednesday.

Mr Fenech, a millionaire entrepreneur who stands accused of complicity in Ms Caruana Galizia’s murder, owns assets in France which include a four-star hotel in Évian-les-Bains and a racehorse stable. 

The entrepreneur was arrested last November and charged with the crime in December. The magistrate presiding over his arraignment had ordered that his assets be seized, but the prosecutor had said at the time that the attorney general’s office did not know what assets Mr Fenech possessed at that stage. 

In December, the Caruana Galizia family and international press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders filed a criminal complaint in France, targeting Mr Fenech’s assets in that country. 

The complaint sought to establish whether Mr Fenech’s activities in France could have been used to finance corruption in Malta or the murder of Ms Caruana Galizia, who was killed by a car bomb in October 2017.

They argued that Mr Fenech could have bribed Keith Schembri, the former OPM chief of staff, and former minister Konrad Mizzi, to secure a lucrative power station deal.  

Times of Malta and Reuters had revealed in 2018 that Mr Fenech owned 17 Black, a secret company which, according to leaked documents, was intended to send money to offshore firms owned by Mr Schembri and Dr Mizzi.  

French prosecutors said that their investigation would be carried out in cooperation with Maltese judicial authorities and that the results of their investigation would be shared with their Maltese counterparts. 

 

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