The Malta Independent 25 February 2020, Tuesday

Updated: Valletta says he didn't know of Fenech's suspected involvement in Daphne murder

Sunday, 19 January 2020, 07:31 Last update: about 2 months ago

Former Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta has said that he would have never travelled abroad with someone who he knew or thought was being investigated, and also said that he never knew of Fenech's involvement in this case.

Valletta made the statement after it was uncovered that he had travelled abroad with Yorgen Fenech, a man accused in connection with the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, when the latter was already a person of interest in the case. The trip occurred just months after Valletta had been removed from the investigation.

The Times of Malta said that Valletta had, on 29 September 2018, travelled to London with Fenech to watch a football match (Liverpool vs Chelsea).

Valletta used to be part of the team of investigators into the case of Caruana Galizia, but was removed from the role before this trip. Valletta admitted to The Times of Malta that he had travelled with Fenech, but said that he paid for his own flights and that he had not been working on the Caruana Galizia case since June 2018, the newspaper reports. 

The newspaper states that a witness on the flight heard Fenech telling his children to hold 'uncle Silvio's hand'.

Valletta's withdrawal from the investigation came after a court case was filed by the Caruana Galizia family. The Constitutional Court had upheld a judgment ruling that the involvement of Deputy Commissioner of Police Silvio Valletta in the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia breached her family's fundamental human rights. Valletta is married to cabinet minister Justyne Caruana. Valletta had himself been the subject of Caruana Galizia's writings in his role as a member of the FIAU.

On 2 August 2019, the government made the announcement on the Government Gazette that Deputy police commissioner Silvio Valletta had retired from the corps and as a consequence no longer sat on the board of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit as the police representative.

The Times of Malta reported that when Valletta travelled abroad with Fenech, the FIAU had just handed over to the police an intelligence report about how Fenech was the owner of 17 Black.

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri told sections of the press that what was reported ‘is not on’, and stressed the importance of a reform in the police force. He said he understands that there will be an investigation and that decisions would be taken after.

Reacting to the report, the former deputy police commissioner said that he would have never travelled abroad with someone who he knew or thought was being investigated. 

Deputy Police Commissioner Valletta has said that when he was on the board of the FIAU, he was not privy to the reports or who they were about.

He stressed that after the 13 June 2018 Constitutional Court judgement, he informed the Police Force that he was going to step aside in the investigation into the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder, which he did.

Valletta said that he decided to stop serving in the police due to the criticism levelled against his wife (Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana). He said that he and his wife did not speak about work and that they have a ‘professional relationship.’ 

 

 

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