It is intriguing just like the plot of a political thriller novel. A global scandal involving world leaders is cracked open by a journalist; politicians and businessmen struggling to try to save their empires. The journalist is dead in the end and the bad guys are brought to justice just like would be expected in the novel. But, this is real life and the bad guys seemingly include a wealthy casino owner and, perhaps, the soon-to-be-ex Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat.
Before stepping down just prior to his arrest two weeks ago, Yorgen Fenech was the CEO of the Tumas Group, a multi-casino company in Malta. He supposedly had a role in the car-bombing murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia two years ago. Galizia had been disclosing details of the so-called Panama Papers which were never meant to surface, and which detailed the deepest secrets of powerful businessmen, world leaders and others, and exposed some back-alley dealings meant to help all of them maintain their power.
As he tried to make his escape aboard his yacht on November 20, Fenech was arrested, explains Malta Today. As informed by Calvinayre.com, he had been under watch by police already and couldn’t get far. When he was arrested, he offered to share information of the murder in exchange for immunity; however, the request was denied. We still don’t know exactly what role he may have played in Galizia’s death.
Fenech was simply one of the individuals revealed to have been associated with the murder plot. His participation became known only by mere chance, as police had arrested Melvin Theuma in an entirely separate case. However, he claimed to have information of the killing and of those involved, leading to a scandal which has rocked Malta’s foundation. Fenech has pleaded not guilty for now.
In the wake of the continuing investigation and rumors of political involvement, a number of high-ranking government officials resigned. Last week two government ministers and Muscat’s aide, Keith Schembri, announced that they were resigning from their posts. Over the weekend Muscat followed suit.
Malta’s leader faced petitions for his resignation after his close circle started to fall apart, according to the BBC. He has complied and has turned to the Labour Party to find his replacement, with plans for the changeover to take place in the middle of January. Muscat stated, “Malta needs to start a new chapter and only I can give that signal,” without offering too much detail.