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Daphne Caruana Galizia Assassination Suspect Cleared of Casino Fraud Charges

Muscat is a known criminal, one of three individuals charged with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia

Vince Muscat, known as il-Koħħu, has been cleared of charges in a casino fraud case going back to 2007, local news outlet Malta Today reports. Muscat is one of the three men charged with the assassination of Maltese investigative journalist and anti-corruption activist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Muscat has been accused of attempting to defraud Casino di Venezia of the total amount of €2,329.37. According to court records, he had acted together with Mario Spiteri, had used the registration details of another person, and had bribed a croupier at the casino.

The incident occurred in 2007. However, presiding Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech said issuing her decision that the case was only passed on to her in early 2016.

Following a police investigation, it has been discovered that Casino di Venezia croupier Brian Dingli had been bribed by the suspects to help them defraud the casino. The sophisticated scheme allegedly involved the croupier arranging playing cards in a certain sequence and communicating important information to the suspects who had played online.

The person whose details had been used for opening an account with the gaming operation was found to have been Joseph Buttigieg from Ghajnsielem, Gozo.

Croupier Found Guilty, Muscat Cleared of Charges

The croupier was found guilty after a casino CCTV footage showed that he had not shuffled cards at the time the incident had taken place, had hidden his hands under the table, and had used his mobile phone after taking a break to allegedly communicate with Muscat and his accomplice.

Buttigieg admitted to the police that he had been involved in the incident and that he had provided Muscat and Spiteri with his log in details and password. He also admitted to being present when the two suspects had played and had seen them read a message on their mobile phone that had allegedly been sent by the croupier. Buttigieg was sentenced in May 2008, Malta Today wrote, but was discharged conditionally.

He then flew to Australia. Buttigieg was approached by Maltese authorities to provide a witness statement but he refused to do so, saying that he feared retribution against him or his family in Malta.

Muscat and his accomplice were first charged in June 2008 and the first hearing took place in September 2008. As mentioned earlier, it took eight years for the case to reach Magistrate Dimech’s desk. Muscat and Spiteri were eventually found not guilty due to the lack of evidence of any wrongdoing and after Buttigieg’s continued refusal to give such evidence.

Muscat was one of three individuals arraigned on charges of the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The investigative reporter died on October 16, 2017 in a car bomb attack not far from her home. Muscat was charged alongside Alfred Degiogio and George Degiorgio. All three are known criminals, previously linked to a 2010 HSBC heist.

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