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French investigation into Yorgen Fenech’s assets welcomed

“The investigation should be of significant help in establishing the truth and shedding light on the circumstances surrounding her death” – Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General

The investigation by France’s national prosecutor into the assets of Yorgen Fenech, accused of being the mastermind in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s death, has been welcomed by family members as well as the Secretary-General of international press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

“The investigation into the businessman suspected of being behind the Maltese journalist’s murder should be of significant help in establishing the truth and shedding light on the circumstances surrounding her death,” Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said.

The Paris prosecutor’s office announced on Wednesday the opening of a preliminary investigation in response to the complaint filed by Caruana Galizia’s family and RSF in December 2019 in which they accused Fenech in a French court of being an accomplice to murder and corruption.

Paul Caruana Galizia, the son of the journalist killed in a car bomb close to her home in Malta in October 2017, welcomed the news of bribery investigation into Fenech’s assets in France, which  include a hotel and racehorses. Proceeds from activities in France may have been used to make payments to former chief of staff at the Prime Minister’s Office, Keith Schembri, and former tourism minister Konrad Mizzi.

His French activities might also have served to pay those hired to carry out the bombing, their legal motion argues.

The investigations by French officials charged with fighting corruption and fiscal violations will be carried out “in close cooperation with Maltese justice officials in charge of investigating the murder,” the French financial prosecutor said in a statement.

Financial investigators would try to establish if business dealings in France by people under investigation in Malta over the killing had been linked to corrupt practices abroad, the statement said.

A corrupting island in a corrupting sea

Keith Schembri ‘certainly’ knew in 2018 of Yorgen Fenech’s involvement in the murder – Theuma