On Thursday, the police conducted an operation, coordinated with Europol, whereby they arrested a number of people, one of whom is suspected to be the middleman in the case of the murder of Ms Daphne Caruana Galizia. The operation was related to money laundering. The targeted person showed his willingness, after some time of interrogation by the police, to collaborate, and said that he might have evidence to corroborate his testimony.
This person, through his lawyers, asked to be granted a presidential pardon first, with immunity for all the cases that he might have been involved in, in exchange for testimony in this case. This request was brought to my attention and I spoke to the investigators. I also spoke to the Attorney General, and we agreed that we could not give blanket immunity without knowing with certainty the cases in which this person could have been involved in, and without ensuring that the evidence given by this person could be corroborated in court.
Therefore, I gave a mandate to the Attorney General and we negotiated with the lawyers of this person to take a step which I think is unprecedented. I signed a letter with which I gave an assurance, together with the competent authorities, that if this person gave all the information and evidence that he had, and if all this could be corroborated in court, I would recommend that this person be given a presidential pardon. This was also subject to corroboration of evidence in other cases he was involved in.
I signed this letter and therefore this person has assurance that if he collaborates with the police and the information given is enough to lead to a prosecution of whoever is responsible for this crime, he will be granted a presidential pardon.
I am taking this decision on my own. It’s not a decision that will be discussed or decided in Cabinet. I believe, because of other precedents in cases of presidential pardons, that this is a decision that I should shoulder on my own. I take political responsibility and am not burdening anyone else with my decision.
I appeal, and this is a very important point, for the media to keep its heedfulness. The case is not closed. Police have a number of days to speak to this person, who at the moment is being protected. I appeal for everyone to be cautious.
The government did what it had to do. As I said from the start, I will leave no stone unturned in this case. There is no question of impunity for whoever is responsible for this crime. I will do my job in line with my oath of office. But we have to be cautious at this very delicate moment because, if we say more than we should, this might lead to the case not being concluded in a successful manner.
If you ask me how long we have to wait, I don’t think it’s a matter of months, but I don’t think it’s just a matter of a couple of days. It could be somewhat in between.
I would like the authorities, with these instructions, to conclude their work as soon as possible, but in a way that there is a very solid case. With the necessary information, we can close cases that, from what I was told by the competent authorities, are serious.