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Chris Cardona set to drop libel suits against Daphne Caruana Galizia over German brothel visit 

Mobile telephony data showing minister’s whereabouts could be irretrievably lost if libel suits are dropped

Economy minister Chris Cardona

Economy minister Chris Cardona is set to drop his libel cases against Daphne Caruana Galizia over his alleged visit to a German brothel while on government business in January 2017.

Caruana Galizia’s son Paul tweeted that if Cardona drops his cases it would stop his family from presenting evidence showing that Cardona was indeed at the FKK Acapulco in Velbert, Germany.

In his tweet, Paul Caruana Galizia said “Why drop it now, Chris? We don’t want you to.” The Shift News understands that the Caruana Galizia family is prepared to counter sue Cardona for damages he caused to the murdered journalist and her family through his vexatious actions.

Caruana Galizia was sued for libel after alleging that Cardona and his personal aide Joseph Gerada visited a brothel in Velbert while on an official visit to Germany.

The journalist had cited an anonymous eyewitness, another Maltese customer at the brothel, who said he recognised Cardona. The minister retaliated by going for the nuclear option of asking the court to serve Caruana Galizia with a garnishee order amounting to €46,000. This effectively froze Caruana Galizia’s bank accounts and on the fateful day of 16 October Caruana Galizia was on her way to the bank see whether she could access her accounts.

After Caruana Galizia’s lawyers requested the court to order the preservation of data stored on Transferred Account Procedure (TAP) files, Magistrate Francesco Depasquale ordered the preservation of mobile telephony data which will shed light upon the whereabouts of Cardona and Gerada.

Although both men have vehemently denied visiting the brothel, if the cases against Caruana Galizia are dropped the data showing their whereabouts would be irretrievably lost.

Last month, Gerada had offered to drop two libel cases against Caruana Galizia and now Cardona is set to drop the cases when court reconvenes to hear the case on 26 April.

During the last sitting on 5 March the case was adjourned after the applicants failed to show up in court and Gerada’s lawyer Paul Lia said that “everyone wants to prove their innocence, but Gerada no longer has an interest.”

In reaction, the Caruana Galizia family had said “if economy minister Chris Cardona and his aide Joe Gerada were innocent, as they claim, they could prove this immediately by publishing their mobile phone location data which would show precisely where they were located at the time and day that they said they were not at the FKK Acapulco brothel.”

Last week, the Daphne Project reported that Cardona was spotted at the same bar as one of the men charged with killing Caruana Galizia. While dismissing the reports as “clearly speculative, based on hearsay which have no foundation of truth,” Cardona hinted that he would drop the libel cases he filed against the murdered journalist over his alleged visit to FKK Acapulco.

“I have received some harsh criticism on my decision to resort to legal remedies to defend myself. However, I still believe that my decision to protect my reputation and my family from fabrications and lies made simply to damage my twenty-year political career was the right one at the time. The tragic death of Ms. Caruana Galizia has led to a re-consideration of these libel proceedings, both procedurally and substantively, and I have entrusted my legal counsel to see how best it would be to move forward. I therefore do not wish to comment further on the case until proceedings are concluded,” Cardona told the Daphne Project.

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