The Malta Independent 16 December 2017, Saturday

Updated: Chris Cardona refutes accusation that he lied over Caruana Galizia precautionary warrants

Monday, 4 December 2017, 11:48 Last update: about 11 days ago

The sister of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Corinne Vella, has accused economy minister Chris Cardona and his consultant Joe Gerada of lying over their requests to revoke precautionary warrants they had filed after the German brothel allegations.

The minister has denied these claims.

Vella says the warrants they claim to have seeked to revoke after Daphne’s murder in October had already been revoked in April, when the requested amount was deposited in court. 

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Speaking to this newspaper last week, Cardona said: “Had Beppe Fenech Adami had the decency to check facts prior to making parliamentary statements, he would have realised that through my lawyers I filed a request for the garnishee orders to be removed a few days after the tragic death of Daphne Caruana Galizia. However, unlike my counterparts from the Opposition I did not feel, due to the sensitivity of the circumstances, that I should make any public statements that could possibly be spinned or interpreted as me trying to get political mileage from the situation.”

But Corinne Vella has now accused the minister of lying to this newspaper. “Minister for the Economy Christian Cardona lied to the newsroom of The Malta Independent when he said that he withdrew precautionary warrants he had filed against Daphne Caruana Galizia, days after her contract killing.”

Vella said the warrants were all withdrawn on 24 April 2017, following the deposit of the amount claimed in Court by HSBC from Daphne Caruana Galizia's bank account and from her personal funds.

Then, on 24 October, Cardona and Gerada filed counter warrants to revoke their original warrants, which had already revoked. As such, the courts rejected their request, Vella said, quoting information from the court servers. 

“This means that Cardona and Gerada applied to revoke warrants that had already been revoked on 24 April 2017. As this is absurd, the Court refused (michud) their applications. Cardona’s and Gerada’s motive for lying about the revocation date remains unclear.”

 

Vella provided the below timeline:

30 January 2017: Daphne Caruana Galizia reports that Malta's Minister for the Economy, Christian Cardona, is "currently at a brothel in the German town of Velbert, near Düsseldorf", with his "consultant and Malta EU Presidency policy coordinator", Joseph Gerada.

7 February 2017: Christian Cardona and Joseph Gerada apply to the court for the issue of four garnishee orders (two each) for €11,646.87 each, totalling €46,587.48.

At the same time they filed four libel applications. In each case, they sought to freeze the maximum they could be awarded in damages at law. The warrants were directed at banks to freeze accounts up to that amount and to Transport Malta so that Daphne Caruana Galizia could not sell any car she may have had.

Daphne Caruana Galizia applied to have the warrants revoked, but the Court turned down this request.

1 March 2017: HSBC deposited €43,194.36 in Court as bound to by law. This was the net amount it held after deduction of its charges. See the attached document.

9 March 2017: Daphne Caruana Galizia deposited a further €3,438.12 to make up the €46,587.48 claimed by Cardona and Gerada so that the warrants could be revoked. See the attached document.

24 April 2017: Dr Paul Lia for Christian Cardona and Joseph Gerada finally agrees to sign counter warrants given that the sum claimed was already deposited in Court. It took him over six weeks to sign the counter warrants. The Court revokes the warrants on the same day but the €46,587.48 is tied down in Court until the libel cases are decided.

24 October 2017: Christian Cardona and Joseph Gerada filed four counter warrants to their original 7 February 2017 warrants. In effect, they applied to revoke warrants that were already revoked on 24 April 2017. As this is absurd the Court refused (michud) their applications.

30 November 2017: Christian Cardona tells The Malta Independent “through my lawyers I filed a request for the garnishee orders to be removed a few days after the tragic death of Mrs. Daphne Caruana Galizia. However, unlike my counterparts from the Opposition I did not feel, due to the sensitivity of the circumstances, that I should make any public statements that could possibly be spinned or interpreted as me trying to get political mileage from the situation.”


Minister’s denial

Replying to questions by this newspaper, Cardona categorically denied having lied.

“Minister Cardona stands by his previous statement dated 29th November 2017 sent to this newspaper. His intention is clearly reflected in the attached court application, whereby the justification given for the request to the Court filed on the 24th of October 2017, that is a few days after the heinous murder of Mrs Caruana Galizia, Minister Cardona’s lawyer wrote, ‘sabiex il-famijari tal-intamata defunta ikunu jistgħu liberalment jiżbankaw l-ammonti depożitati. (so that the relatives of the deceased can freely withdraw the deposited amount).

In this respect, Minister Cardona categorically denies that he lied over his intention to allow Mrs Caruana Galizia’s family members to withdraw the deposited amount,” a spokesperson says.

 

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