Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca are to be arraigned in court in connection with a bribe offered to a Times of Malta journalist.
The charges were issued after the lawyers admitted that cash was offered to Times of Malta journalist Ivan Martin after a meeting about Fenech.
Martin rejected what he described as several €500 notes offered to him by Caruana Curran and immediately reported the incident to his editor.
The bribery attempt drew condemnation from European press freedom organisations who urged criminal action against the lawyer as well as an investigation by the Chamber of Advocates.
Martin has been summoned as a witness in Monday’s case along with Times of Malta editor-in-chief Herman Grech and news editor Diana Cacciottolo.
The lawyers had initially justified the cash offer by claiming Martin offered to “help neutralise the bias in the reporting in the media.”
Caruana Curran claimed he was not aware Martin was a full-time journalist with Times of Malta.
Martin has been a Times of Malta journalist since 2013 and has covered the Caruana Galizia case extensively.
A day after the incident was exposed, the lawyers then claimed the money offer was made as Martin was “posing as an investigator”.
Martin, they said, had taken advantage of them by “posing as an investigator interested in helping our client (outside his job with the Times) by way of investigative services, as well as sources and information.”
Times of Malta editor-in-chief Herman Grech had said the Fenech legal team’s line of argument was baffling.
“At no point in his conversation did Ivan Martin indicate he was an investigator, a claim which came a day after the story was published,” Grech noted.
“On Monday, Gianluca Caruana Curran told Ivan Martin that he had ‘never dealt with journalists before’. He was therefore well aware he was actually dealing with a journalist, who happens to be one of the most high-profile reporters in Malta. How he has gone from that to a private investigator baffles us".
Martin had met with Fenech’s lawyers twice and Monday’s meeting had been held upon Mercieca’s request. The journalist had informed his editors about both meetings and kept them updated about developments.
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