Melvyn Theuma told the court yesterday that Yorgen Fenech had used that phrase – ‘money is our power’ – when Theuma had suggested to Fenech that he could stop paying the imprisoned Degiorgios the tens of thousands they had been extorting from him. It’s one of those quotes that would be left hanging in silence, with no orchestral flourish on the soundtrack, spoken with a gravelly voice by a mafia don in a poorly written spoof of The Godfather.

‘Money is our power’

Since this is from the real world it reflects the frame of mind of Yorgen Fenech, our own mafia don, straight out of the unintended comedy that is the tragic existence of our country.

For completeness’ sake, it should be said that the quote ‘Money is our power’ is attributed to Yorgen Fenech by Melvyn Theuma, not by some recording. Though Yorgen Fenech is unlikely to testify in his defence, one can only presume he denies saying it or doing what Melvyn Theuma said he had been doing it when he said it. Take from that what you will.

Melvyn Theuma’s testimony is corroborated by a number of facts. One of those facts is the receipts Melvyn Theuma had shown the police, that had been made out by Mario Degiorgio on behalf of his brothers. Is that watertight forensics? Perhaps not. One thing is watertight. Someone was paying for the Degiorgio’s very expensive defence including technical expert reports which this website had commented about at the time.

Yorgen Fenech is not without supporters. That’s not surprising in itself. Totò Riina had his supporters and he lived most of the decades before his arrest in hiding. Yorgen Fenech lived perched on the the top of a pyramid of benevolence with hundreds of people beneath his arse earning their keep keeping him happy.

They’re still earning their keep on the back of the edifice he still profits from in prison. When four Repubblika activists drove up the cobbled ramp to the doors of the Hilton Hotel protesting the unacceptable proximity of Yorgen Fenech to Edward Zammit Lewis a bunch of thugs came out of the woodwork fuming with indignation at the sight and considerable noise of their hero’s accusers befouling the hallowed ground he owns.

One woman, who fancied herself some sort of hero, harangued the four activists for causing distress to Yorgen Fenech’s mother. Simon Mercieca waxed melodramatic about the four activists threatening the livelihood of the good hard-working people at the Hilton Hotel.

And there, in the spirited defence of the sacred bubble at the Hilton Hotel where Yorgen Fenech is hailed a hero and his mother a latter-day Mater Dolorosa, the motto “money is our power” is loud enough not to need to be voiced at all.

The thugs at the Hilton’s gates and the suits who sent them, the haranguing lady, that man-whore Simon Mercieca, even Yorgen Fenech’s mother: they would never draw conclusions from the simple observation that Yorgen Fenech, still at liberty, was paying for the defence and the upkeep of Alfred and George Degiorgio, in prison awaiting trial for killing Daphne Caruana Galizia.

It would never occur to them to think what that means. Over their hearts and minds, even their bodies, and their abilities to defend Yorgen Fenech’s “honour” whether by guarding his gates like robot gorillas or to sign on his behalf the deranged and online version of Fenech’s barely articulate Mein Kampf, is Yorgen Fenech’s grip on them, his power over them. His money.

The Fenech family still hold the Hilton franchise. Siemens are still their partners in Electrogas. They still profit from the casino business exposed too often for its connections to organised crime. The front of legitimate business continues to generate the cash that Yorgen Fenech handed over in wads to assassins and their lawyers. Now, that dirty money, is paying for the defence of his reputation, such as it is, in court and outside it.

Everyone, of course, is entitled to a defence in court. If Yorgen Fenech has no clean money to be able to afford paying for lawyers, the State should provide him with one. But now, as then when he was still outside, Yorgen Fenech knows, money is his power. And dirty money is his dirty power.