The lawyer of the former labor minister Konrad Mizzi personally offered to negotiate a form of immunity for the Dutch inmate Julian Hofstra with the Maltese security service.
Hofstra, 21, says he took pictures of Melvin Theuma, the middleman who became a state witness in the assassination attempt on Caruana Galizia and who he befriended at the white taxi stand he ran at the Portomaso Hilton shortly before 2019 .
MaltaToday now understands that Mizzi’s lawyer, Jean Paul Sammut, would have offered to negotiate with the Maltese security service so that Hofstra could avoid prosecution in Malta if he were to become his lawyer.
According to conversations between the two, Hofstra contacted Sammut in December 2020 for legal help. The Dutch inmate later decided to appoint Charles Mercieca as his deputy. Media attention then turned to the existence of the Theuma recordings in which the middleman speaks of his fear of retaliation from Keith Schembri, former chief of staff of former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
Schembri was a friend of the alleged murder mastermind and Electrogas shareholder, and was liked by his offshore company 17 Black.
Hofstra contacted Sammut again on January 24th, where Sammut persuaded the Dutch citizen to play it safe and cooperate with the responsible authorities, namely the MSS and the police.
In the WhatsApp conversations, Sammut said: “If you choose to work with authorities, send a letter appointing me as your sole legal representative in Malta to negotiate with the authorities on your behalf. But with the letter I want the username and password so that when I officially write to you I have access in hand … I don’t want to look like an idiot again – like we met with MSS in December and then we are you’ve gone to give everything to other people! You have to understand my position if you really want me to help you. ”
MaltaToday has not ascertained how far Hofstra could have known Konrad Mizzi, with the exception of a photo on which Hofstra can be seen under Air Malta Top Brass and the former Minister of Tourism.
In a request for comment, Sammut told MaltaToday that Hofstra had assured him that “there is no connection between his alleged evidence and Konrad Mizzi, and so I agreed to help.”
Sammut also says Hofstra told him he saw Mizzi at a press conference at the airport where the Dutchman took a picture with him. “If Hofstra had told me at some point that he had information about my client Dr. Mizzi, I would have stopped communication with Hofstra,” said Sammut to this newspaper.
During the talks, Hofstra raised concerns about the possibility of prosecution and Sammut assured him that as long as he stopped disseminating information, he could negotiate with the government.
However, Sammut requested that he be appointed his sole legal representative in Malta to negotiate with authorities on his behalf and requested the credentials that would give him access to the device that has Melvin Theuma’s records on it.
In comments on MaltaToday, Sammut decided not to mention this part of the conversation. “I’m not a Hofstra lawyer, so I can’t answer. This is privileged and I can’t comment on it, ”he said of his alleged conversations with the police or MSS.
The Maltese police have denied trying to broker some kind of immunity agreement with Hoftsra. The Superintendent of the Financial Crime Investigation Department, James Grech, issued a European Investigation Warrant (EIO) to the Dutch Police to confirm the accuracy of the alleged records of Melvin Theuma.
Police investigators are still unsure whether the recordings are true, despite the fact that the Fenech defense team – Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca – traveled to Amsterdam in January where they met Hofstra.
The recordings Hofstra took in late 2018 through early 2019 make him a person of interest for the case. Allegedly, the sound clips show that Theuma is afraid of possible retaliation from Keith Schembri.
The records are deemed important to the Fenech defense team if they could undermine Theuma’s pardon from the president, whose evidence is vital in the prosecution’s case against the business tycoon. Theuma has testified that it was Yorgen Fenech who drove the murder of Caruana Galizia.
The bizarre twists and turns in this story go even further: Hofstra claims that he became friends with Silvio Zammit, the restaurateur who was involved in the Dalligate bribery scandal in 2012; Zammit refused to use Hofstra’s services at any time.
Zammit’s attorney is Edward Gatt, who is also the principal attorney for Keith Schembri, who co-founded the secret offshore firms in Panama with Konrad Mizzi in 2013.