Updated at 11.05am
Former radio host David Thake has suggested that businessman Yorgen Fenech offered the Nationalist Party €50,000 to ensure David Casa was not reelected to the European Parliament.
Mr Thake made the claim during an episode of TV talk show Xarabank, saying the PN had worked to hinder Mr Casa’s reelection campaign. He provided no evidence to back up his allegation.
“Are you prepared to ensure that the PN is not controlled by Yorgen Fenech, to ensure it does not continue to fight against corruption like 17 Black?” Mr Thake asked PN leader Adrian Delia.
He said his source had confirmed that Mr Fenech had made the €50,000 offer.
“Offering money to someone who controls an electoral campaign is extremely serious,” Mr Thake said.
He pointed the finger at Mr Delia’s “close advisors” Pierre Portelli and Kristy Debono, saying they were close to Mr Fenech.
Last year, a joint investigation by Times of Malta and Reuters revealed that Mr Fenech – who sits on the board of power station company Electrogas – is the ultimate beneficial owner of Dubai company 17 Black.
Leaked emails suggest 17 Black was set up as a target company for offshore companies owned by minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.
‘Zero tolerance to corruption’ – Delia
Replying, Dr Delia urged Mr Thake to take any evidence he had to substantiate his claims to the police and assured him the PN would back him “with all my might” if there was truth to them.
“Zero tolerance to corruption,” Dr Delia said. “There is absolutely no link to Mr Fenech”.
Last April, Times of Malta revealed that PN MPs Kristy Debono and Hermann Schiavone had met Mr Fenech to discuss a potential conference sponsorship.
Mr Schiavone subsequently suspended himself from the PN parliamentary group as a result of the fallout from that revelation, saying that Ms Debono had been unaware that they were to meet Mr Fenech.
Portelli, Debono deny
Mr Portelli denied the claims Mr Thake made on Xarabank and also told him to present any proof to the police.
“David Thake already lost various libel cases when he was a presenter on Radio 101 and it seems he hasn’t yet learned anything,” Mr Portelli wrote, in a post which was shared by Kristy Debono.
Mr Thake later replied to say he had only lost one libel suit, not several as Mr Portelli had claimed.
Xarabank host Peppi Azzopardi told his audience that Mr Portelli had also called the show during an advertising break to deny the allegations.
Ms Debono called Times of Malta to strenuously deny the claims.
Casa reelection bid
Mr Casa, who is Malta’s longest-serving MEP, was successfully reelected during last month’s European Parliament elections.
Speaking on Xarabank, Mr Thake argued that the PN had done its utmost to ensure Mr Casa’s reelection bid failed.
Dr Delia insisted there was no truth to that claim, either.
“Ask David Casa,” the PN leader told the former radio host.
“I asked him to focus on a particular part of the electorate, and he did that to the letter. And I thank him for that.”