Watch: Chris Cardona says he was never at the bar at same time as alleged killer

Watch: Chris Cardona says he was never at the bar at same time as alleged killer

Minister previously said he did not recall meeting

Video: Jonathan Borg, Elisa Lemarchand

Chris Cardona has denied even being at a Siġġiewi bar at the same time as one of the men charged with killing Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The Economy Minister is in the eye of a storm after the Daphne Project reported that Dr Cardona's presence at the bar, frequented by at least one of the men suspected of murdering the journalist, had been flagged to the inquiring magistrate. 

The story was based on the account of two witnesses who said they saw the minister at the bar before and after the October 16 assassination.

Read: Chris Cardona's presence at bar ‘frequented by murder suspect’ flagged to magistrate

The Daphne Project is made up of a consortium of investigative journalists from 18 international media houses, including Times of Malta.

In replies to the Daphne Project, the Economy Minister had said that he "does not recall" having any discussions with any the three individuals accused of carrying out the car bombing.

Brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio stand accused of Ms Caruana Galizia’s assassination, along with Vincent Muscat. The men deny the charges.

Asked by Times of Malta on Thursday whether he was ever at the bar while any of the accused men were there, Dr Cardona replied with a curt “no”. When pressed further on this, one of the minister's aide instructed the journalist that no more questions would be allowed.

In his replies to the consortium, the minister had also said that "like most seasoned lawyers in Malta" he knew who some of the suspects in the case are, adding that the pub in questions "welcomes patrons from all walks of life, including other politicians".

When asked whether he had taken any information relating to the allegations involving his contact with the accused to the police, the minister said that he had already handed his replies to the Daphne Project and had nothing else to add.

“I have already passed on my statement to the consortium of journalists who worked on the story. My explanation was very clear and that is why I have released it once again. The reporting by the consortium of journalists failed to explain the circumstances that I have clearly explained. I have nothing to add,” the minister said.

On whether he had discussed the allegations with Joseph Muscat, Dr Cardona insisted he had been “very clear”, pointing out that he had just returned from a trip to London with the prime minister. 

The Opposition walked out of parliament in protest on Tuesday evening, shortly after Times of Malta released the first Daphne Files story, amid mounting calls urging the police to question Dr Cardona.

Read: Opposition challenges Cardona to explain allegations to Parliament

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