The Malta Independent 5 August 2021, Thursday

Updated: Carmelo Abela promised €300,000 for help in HSBC heist, Azzopardi says; Abela denies claims

Albert Galea Friday, 9 April 2021, 18:33 Last update: about 5 months ago

Minister Carmelo Abela was promised €300,000 in exchange for helping the would-be robbers in the 2010 HSBC heist, PN MP Jason Azzopardi claimed on Facebook on Friday.

In an explosive Facebook post, the PN MP said that he was reacting after being told that Abela had written about him and tried to insult him with “tomb of Christ” jibes – a reference to a scandal last year where Azzopardi was said to have gone to Israel and stayed at a hotel paid for by Tumas Group.

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Abela’s post earlier today came about after Azzopardi himself posted an article from 2015 which alleged that Abela had used government workers in 2015 for works in his own personal home - a claim which the Minister denied.  Azzopardi's post was made after reports emerged that PN MP Toni Bezzina was set to be charged by police over similar allegations.

Azzopardi, in response to Abela's retort, said that he is no saint, and told Abela that he is not impressing nor influencing him by mentioning “the tomb of Christ”.

It was here that Azzopardi reeled off the claims against Abela.

“Better the tomb of Christ than being complicit with the mastermind in the HSBC hold-up”, he began.

“Better the tomb of Christ than being complicit in a hold-up against a promise of €300,000 from the robbery”, he added.

“Better the tomb of Christ than being complicit in attempted murder where 67 shots were fired.  Better the tomb of Christ than being complicit in telephone calls to threaten witnesses of a hold-up, and with telephone calls on Signal from the mastermind”, he said.’

“That’s it for now”, Azzopardi concluded.

Qaluli li l-Ministru Carmelo Abela illum kiteb fil-konfront tieghi, minghalih jghajjarni bil-"qabar ta' Kristu" u b' "...

Posted by Jason Azzopardi on Friday, April 9, 2021

In response, Carmelo Abela vehemently denied the allegations, describing them as malicious lies.

He said that he will be taking all the necessary legal steps immediately to defend his integrity against what called a filthy and obscene fabrication, and for Azzopardi to pay for his behaviour.

"The Nationalist Party is in cahoots with criminals and is working hand in hand with them", he said.  "Bernard Grech is going to have a lot to answer for", he said.

Niċħad kategorikament u bl-aktar mod assolut il-gideb malafamanti u moqżież li għamel fuqi d-deputat Nazzjonalista Jason...

Posted by Carmelo Abela on Friday, April 9, 2021

The allegation that a sitting minister was involved in the failed 2010 heist was first made by Azzopardi, who is the lawyer for the Caruana Galizia family, himself on 103FM during an interview.

Vincent Muscat – better known as il-Kohhu – is seeking a pardon in connection with the heist, having already gotten a reduced 15-year sentence for his involvement as one of the hitmen who killed Daphne Caruana Galizia and a pardon for the murder of lawyer Carmel Chircop, and claims to have information on a sitting minister who was involved in the heist.

Muscat is set to face trial in connection with the heist.  He has refused to identify who the minister is with police – something confirmed by Prime Minister Robert Abela himself, who challenged Azzopardi to name who the sitting minister is himself.

Carmelo Abela, who was a manager at HSBC before taking up formal government employment in 2014 and is currently the Minister with the Office of the Prime Minister, has already denied being somehow involved in the attempted heist.

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