Businessman and owner of 17 Black, Yorgen Fenech, has been released on police bail this evening, a few hours before the 48-hours timeframe for charges to be made in court against him elapsed, sources close to the investigation told The Malta Independent.
A person who is held under arrest by the police for questioning has to be released from custody once 48 hours elapse from the time of his arrest unless the person is charged in court. Fenech was arrested on Wednesday at 5.30am, and the police had until 5.30am on Friday to take him to court.
Sources have said that Yorgen Fenech could not be arraigned within the 48 hours because the police have not yet finished the interrogation and need to build more evidence, but it is believed that he is being kept under police surveillance.
Fenech was seen leaving the lock-up at the Police Depot this evening at around 9pm.
The interrogation is likely to continue as from tomorrow, when a fresh 48-hour period starts.
Before being released on police bail, the arrested person must sign a document provided by the police to establish his or her next appointment for questioning. The arrested person must also agree that he or she must not leave the country. The police bail is valid for three months.
Fenech was arrested on board his boat, early Wednesday morning, as it was intercepted at sea by the Armed Forces of Malta, and returned to Malta. The arrest took place just one day after it was revealed that a suspected middleman in the Daphne Caruana Galizia car bomb murder was assured presidential pardon, by the Prime Minister, for information about the case.
Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, however, said on Thursday morning that the suspected middleman had not yet given complete information and is still being questioned. Fenech was not arrested on the basis on information given by the middleman, Muscat noted.
He also said when asked by The Malta Independent for any updates as to when Yorgen Fenech would be brought before the courts, giving the 48-hour time window from his arrest, Muscat said “I don’t think that we should pressure the police to act in a haphazard manner. I believe that the investigators and the Attorney General are in close contact to see that even if the 48-hour time window elapses, there are ways and means to ensure that people are brought to justice.”
Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb as she drove out of her home on October 16, 2017. Three men were arrested in the following December and are awaiting trial.