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Hugo Chetcuti’s funeral in Paola on Thursday

Attacker stabbed victim with knife after gesturing to embrace him

The funeral of entertainment mogul Hugo Chetcuti will be held on Thursday at Paola’s parish church of Christ the King.

Mr Chetcuti, 52, died last Thursday, six days after he was stabbed, allegedly by a former employee, on a busy Friday night outside one of his own Paceville entertainment establishments.

The entrepreneur died late at night, having suffered post-operation infections caused by three stab wounds to his stomach.

Bojan Cmelik, 35, a Serbian national, was last Saturday charged with the attack after the police chased him to Sliema. He had allegedly stabbed Mr Chetcuti with a knife after gesturing to embrace him.

He is now expected to be charged with murder when the compilation of evidence, during which details of the case will start to emerge, is held on Wednesday.

Sources close to the murder inquiry have said Mr Cmelik was recently fired from one of Mr Chetcuti’s establishments after he was caught drinking on the job.

He did not collaborate with the police during his interrogation, refusing to answer questions, weeping and behaving in an “unusual” manner, the sources told the Times of Malta.

Meanwhile, media speculation that this was a “Mafia-style killing” have not been given any weight, with the sources pointing out that similar “Mafia murders” were unknown locally.

Asked on Tuesday about requests for information sent to foreign police forces, sources said so far nothing of any value to the investigation had been handed over by police overseas.

Over the course of some four decades, Mr Chetcuti built an empire of restaurants, nightclubs and gentlemen’s clubs, and recently started branching out into the hotel business.

His eponymous brand included popular Paceville establishments like Havana, Hugo’s Lounge, Hugo’s Pub, Shadow Lounge, Rocco Club Lounge, Bacco by Hugo’s, Club H, Soho Lounge, Native Bar & Diner, Hugo’s Passion and his flagship, Hugo’s Terrace. The latest additions were a burger bar, a Middle Eastern eatery and another offering Italian food.

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