The Malta Independent 23 July 2019, Tuesday

Brothel allegations: Minister Chris Cardona will not take lie detector test

Sunday, 12 February 2017, 09:15 Last update: about 3 years ago

Economy Minister Chris Cardona has dismissed the notion of submitting himself to a lie detector test to allay the public’s concern over whether he is lying or telling the truth about his alleged visit to a German brothel with his policy consultant, where the two are reported to have engaged the services of a prostitute.

The Malta Independent this week sent a request to Dr Cardona, who has repeatedly denied the claims, to ask if he would be willing to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence.

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The invitation stated that, “Should you [the Minister] accept our invitation we will engage the services of a professional expert in the field. The machine and experts will be at your disposal for scrutiny before and after the test is conducted.”

The Minister, however, made it clear that he was not game and would not accept the invitation.

A terse reply sent by a spokesperson for the Minister said, “The truth will emerge under oath in the Courts of Justice, where justice should be done and seen to be done. The Minister will not entertain flawed media stunts.”

The Minster is the subject of the latest scandal to rock the government, with journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia alleging that the Minister and his policy consultant, Joe Gerada, paid a visit to the FKK Acapulco in Velbert, Germany while on a government business trip.

This newspaper has, from day one, persistently asked the minister and his staff to provide it with some kind of proof that he was not at the brothel as is being alleged. Since the morning after the first allegations were published, this newspaper has been asking the minister to provide some form of restaurant or bar receipt, or some other form of an alibi, that would prove he was somewhere else at the time when he was accused of being at the establishment in question.

All our offers, however, have been declined.

Another request to provide such evidence, which the minister says he has in his possession, was made on Thursday. That too was denied, with his spokesperson stating, “Minister Cardona has, from the beginning, addressed the media directly about the allegations in question and has given multiple interviews, leaving no doubt as to his position on the matter. Although the allegations made about him are baseless and, to date, unsupported, the Minister is ready to substantiate his statements by means of concrete evidence, as opposed to the source of such allegations that has not. All the necessary evidence will be produced in Court during libel proceedings since the Minister feels this is the right forum for them to be presented in the light of such serious allegations against him.”

That was followed by the offer of a lie detector test, which was, similarly, shrugged off by the Minister.

Lie detectors are used worldwide to establish whether a person is saying the truth or not. The polygraph, popularly referred to as a lie detector, measures and records several physiological indices such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration and skin conductivity while the subject is asked and answers a series of questions. The belief underpinning the use of the polygraph is that deceptive answers will produce physiological responses that can be distinguished from those associated with non-deceptive answers.

The efficacy of polygraphs is debated in the scientific community but the results of the test can be admissible in particular cases in the US Supreme Court and in other countries.

The reason why The Malta Independent offered Dr Cardona the opportunity to clear his name with a lie detector came about as a result of the widespread public outcry after allegations of misconduct made by Mrs Caruana Galizia shook the nation. The German brothel story took centre stage last week with social media platforms and coffee shops rife with gossip following the allegations, which have been vociferously denied by the Minister and Dr Gerada, who allegedly accompanied the Minister to the brothel.

Such was the damage caused to Minister Cardona that following mounting pressure he asked the court to issue a garnishee order against Mrs Caruana Galizia, freezing €47,000 of her assets in advance of four libel suits filed by Dr Cardona and Dr Gerada. The court acceded to the request. The move drew heavy criticism from the Institute of Maltese Journalists, political parties, large swathes of the public and NGOs. It also led to a crowdfunding initiative which saw a staggering €70,000 being collected on Mrs Caruana Galizia’s behalf in just 36 hours.

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