Published: Fri, November 22, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Malta mogul arrested on yacht in journalist murder case

Malta mogul arrested on yacht in journalist murder case

Caruana Galizia, 53, was killed in a auto bombing on Oct 16, 2017, after years of making enemies of numerous most powerful people in a nation that has become known for smuggling and money laundering.

Yorgen Fenech was detained by armed officers after his yacht was intercepted and searched.

Police declined to comment about the arrest, but Prime Minister Joseph Muscat confirmed to reporters that Fenech had been detained in connection with the murder case.

Maltese investigative journalist Caruana Galizia was murdered in a vehicle bomb in Malta in October 2017, just a year after she and other investigative journalists released the "Panama Papers" for the world's public.

Malta's handling of the case has drawn global criticism.

"We have arrested a man as part of our investigations into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia", a high-ranking police source told AFP.

He was also director of one of the country´s most powerful businesses, the Tumas Group, which runs among other things the Hilton Malta and Portomaso Casino.

A European energy tycoon has been arrested as he attempted to leave the island of Malta in his yacht, just a day after a major break in the unsolved murder of an investigative journalist there.

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Fenech is also involved in the consortium (including Azeri state-owned company SoCar and Malta state-owned company Enemalta) that won a controversial bid to build a Euro 450 million gas power station that Malta did not need.

Maltese police and Interpol, which has been helping with the high-profile case, last week arrested several people as part of an anti-money laundering operation, including the alleged middleman.

Leaked emails revealed in court appeared to show that Panama companies owned by then Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri, the government chief of staff, stood to receive payments from 17 Black.

She was unable to discover who owned the company.

The emails said the Panama companies expected payments of up to $2m within a year from 17 Black. Fenech denied making any plans to pay any politician or any person or entity connected to them.

However, the boat was under surveillance and police swiftly stopped it and forced it to return to port, the sources said.

But in company documents seen by AFP, Fenech resigned the post last week and was replaced by his brother Franco.

After repeatedly refusing to open a public inquiry into the killing, Malta made a surprise U-turn in September, appointing a retired judge to head a probe.

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