No phone call be­tween Pierre Dar­manin and Min­is­ter Chris Car­dona in­ves­ti­ga­tion sources

● Sev­eral calls be­tween ship owner and De­gor­gio broth­ers con­firmed

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel At­tard

The al­leged tele­phone call be­tween ship owner Pierre Dar­manin and Econ­omy Min­is­ter Chris Car­dona shortly af­ter the for­mer spoke with Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia did not take place, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal and for­eign sources close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

On the other hand, Dar­manin re­ally did call broth­ers Al­fred and George De­gior­gio, two of the three men ac­cused of killing the jour­nal­ist, shortly af­ter the phone call with the jour­nal­ist.

Ear­lier this week, the Daphne Project re­ported that, on 31 Oc­to­ber 2016, Pierre Dar­manin had con­tacted Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia af­ter she named him in a blog post about diesel smug­gling and car bomb­ings.

Caru­ana Gal­izia had re­ported that Dar­manin’s ship MV Sil­verk­ing had been im­pounded by Cus­toms three years prior, and that Dar­manin had been named in a po­lice/cus­toms in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a diesel-smug­gling ring.

La Repub­blica, one of the part­ners in the project, claimed that shortly af­ter the blog was pub­lished, Dar­manin called Caru­ana Gal­izia. Shortly af­ter­wards, he called Chris Car­dona and then Al­fred De­gior­gio, it was claimed. The in­for­ma­tion al­legedly came from sources close to the mag­is­te­rial in­quiry led by Mag­is­trate Neville Camil­leri.

But The Malta In­de­pen­dent has now been told that, while the call be­tween Dar­manin and the De­gior­gios has been con­firmed,

there is no ev­i­dence of a call be­tween Dar­manin and Car­dona. Ac­cord­ing to our sources In­ves­ti­ga­tors have found reg­u­lar con­tacts be­tween Dar­manin and the De­gior­gios in the logs.

While it can­not be ex­cluded that Car­dona was con­tacted at an ear­lier or later stage on an un­known num­ber, there is noth­ing to sug­gest that Dar­manin called the min­is­ter shortly af­ter the con­ver­sa­tion with Caru­ana Gal­izia, as claimed by La Repub­blica.

The sources also re­vealed that it was in fact Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia who had called Dar­manin, and not the other way round, as Caru­ana Gal­izia had writ­ten, and the call lasted 411 sec­onds (around seven min­utes). The call was placed on 31 Oc­to­ber at 14.29, ac­cord­ing to the phone logs.

The Malta In­de­pen­dent on Sun­day is in­formed that the in­ves­ti­ga­tors, both Mal­tese and for­eign, are in pos- ses­sion of all mo­bile phone call logs from Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia, Chris Car­dona, Pierre Dar­manin and the three men ac­cused of the mur­der – Al­fred and George De­gior­gio, and Vince Mus­cat. The three ac­cused owned sev­eral mo­bile phones, most of which were found dumped into the sea near the Marsa shed where they were ar­rested early in De­cem­ber of last year.

The Daphne Project last week also claimed that Car­dona had at­tended a 40-per­son bach­e­lor’s party, held at a villa in Fawwara, in June 2017, around 4 months be­fore the mur­der. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, Al­fred De­gior­gio was also in at­ten­dance. La Repub­blica said it could not say whether Car­dona and De­gior­gio had spo­ken at the event. Last year, the Daphne Project had also re­ported that Car­dona had been seen, on two oc­ca­sions, in the pres­ence of Al­fred De­gior­gio at a Sig­giewi bar. The first al­leged sight­ing took place be­fore the mur­der, and the sec­ond took place in Novem­ber, a few weeks af­ter the car bomb­ing in Bid­nija. Car­dona has ac­cused the Daphne Project of mount­ing a “smear cam­paign” but has not been clear in his de­nial. On the Sig­giewi bar claims he had said that he had no idea that De­gior­gio was a sus­pect. This week, while con­firm­ing that he had at­tended the 29 June 2017 bach­e­lor’s party, he asked fel­low MPs whether they could guar­an­tee that they had never been at an event where those present in­cluded peo­ple of bad re­pute.

Car­dona said that he found it piti­ful that some of the mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion wished that they “some­how make a di­rect con­nec­tion be­tween me and the mur­der of Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia”.

Every­one knows that lawyers are ex­posed to cer­tain con­tacts and events where there will be many peo­ple, he said. He also said that he found it ‘ridicu­lous’ to try to im­pli­cate some­one in a mur­der just be­cause they at­tended a so­cial event.

Pierre Dar­manin, Al­fred De­gior­gio and Chris Car­dona

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