The Malta Independent 14 April 2021, Wednesday

Prime Minister defends MTA chief: ‘Johann Buttigieg never did business with Yorgen Fenech’

Monday, 8 March 2021, 12:08 Last update: about 2 months ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela has defended current Malta Tourism Authority CEO Johann Buttigieg after his close links with alleged Caruana Galizia murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech were revealed.

Questioned on Monday morning, a day after the Times of Malta revealed that Buttigieg, while still Planning Authority CEO, had expressed a willingness to "do business" with Fenech in message exchanges.

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Buttigieg denied ever doing any business with Fenech, but failed to say why such chats about potential business deals even took place, the newspaper reports.

Questioned on Monday whether he felt that Buttigieg’s conduct was acceptable, Abela echoed Buttigieg’s defence insofar that he had never done any business with Fenech.

He referred to four members of the Opposition and said that questions should best be posed about them to PN leader Bernard Grech over their alleged ties to Yorgen Fenech.

Abela said that he had instructed all CEOs of government entities to refrain from doing business outside of their public roles and that his government is introducing a “new mentality”.

Asked again whether it was acceptable for people in such roles to entertain business deals, Abela simply repeated that Buttigieg did not do business with Fenech.

Buttigieg has faced calls for his resignation since the story emerged, with the PN and NGOs such as Repubblika and Moviment Graffitti amongst those calling for his removal.

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