Glenn Bedingfield did not get Robert Abela’s memo yesterday. The party leader was telling the press outside the parliament building that being a friend, a fuck-buddy, a WhatsApp chatter or a business associate of Yorgen Fenech was ok if you stopped doing it the day he was charged with murder. Inside Parliament, Glenn Bedingfield was saying that the Nationalist Party must be ashamed because one of their own was in business with Yorgen Fenech when he wasn’t yet behind bars.
Glenn Bedingfield named a company called Hummingbird Properties Limited which he seemed to believe belonged to some PN MP who is lawyer by profession and who was advising Yorgen Fenech.
I looked up Hummingbird Properties Limited. It belongs to Robert Arrigo, the PN’s deputy leader.
Here’s a Q&A I had with Robert Arrigo this morning:
What is the nature of the business of the company that is mentioned?
The nature of the business is the operation of the Topaz Hotel, which opened its doors to tourists on the 28th March 2014.
Who are the remaining beneficial owners of the company?
I am the only beneficial owner, both in terms of ownership and control, at law. In fact, my name is the only one that appears on the beneficial owners register on the online Malta Business Registry.
All my family members who own shares fall below the disclosure thresholds.
Did you declare your interest in this company at any time? When? How?
Yes naturally, I declare my interests yearly. You may see the company’s parent company listed in my annual MP declaration of Assets at the Speaker’s Office.
Does the company have any business with any company in which Yorgen Fenech was involved? What is the nature of that business? When did the business start? When did it end, if it did?
The nature of the business, as is publicly known for 40 years, is the need to contract hotel beds. The lease was negotiated with the late George Fenech in 2013.
The Topaz Hotel provides the necessary beds. The agreement is a long term one where my company pays monthly rent.
How would you describe your relationship with Yorgen Fenech before October 2018, between October 2018 and November 2019, and since November 2019?
I have never met or had any dealings with Yorgen Fenech. All dealings were held with the late George.
Do you have any idea what Glenn Bedingfield may have been referring to when he spoke of “continued legal advice” in the context of your company?
I am not a lawyer and don’t give legal advice. My business in tourism is known locally and in Europe, it’s public and we are a client to all hotels in Malta and Gozo.
Anything else you may wish to add.
I am a long-standing hotelier and a tourist incoming agent, advertising our services locally and throughout Europe.
Clearly Glenn Bedingfield’s speech was a weak tu quoque to try to cover up news he’s expecting about colleagues of his and their relationship with Yorgen Fenech after the country learnt in October 2018 that Yorgen Fenech was bribing Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi. It’s not going to be pleasant.
Robert Abela was also making a feeble pre-emptive attempt. He begged journalists yesterday not to humiliate his MPs once their relationship with Yorgen Fenech post-17 Black revelations are exposed. He went as far as lowering standards of decency expecting the country to be ok with its politicians being close to businessmen known to bribe other politicians.
This scandal will continue to engulf those who thought they could get away with anything. On the basis of what Glenn Bedingfield said yesterday though, and what Robert Arrigo told me today, the PN’s deputy leader has no case to answer.