The Address | Benghazi – Libya
VALLETTA – Investigators have identified a group of at least three Maltese nationals who they say masterminded the violent murder of an investigative journalist last year, media reports claim according to The Independent.
Daphne Caruana Galizia – who wrote a widely-read anti-corruption blog – died in a targeted car bomb near the Maltese capital Valletta in October 2017.
The murder sent shock waves across Europe and raised questions about the influence of organised crime within the highest political and business circles of the EU member states.
The new reports, published in The Times of Malta, did not reveal the names of the suspected masterminds.
But it quoted high-ranking officials familiar with the murder probe as saying the investigation was now at a “very advanced stage”.
The sources would not give any indication of whether the new suspects came from the Mediterranean island’s criminal, business or political communities.
Three other men who were allegedly hired to carry out the killing have been under arrest for almost a year, and have already pleaded not guilty.
A court documenting initial evidence against the trio has heard that they allegedly planted a bomb in Ms Caruana Galizia’s car and set it off via a text message.
The motive behind the murder remains unknown, with the Sunday Times saying the investigators believe the newly-identified masterminds had different reasons for wanting the reporter dead and came together to contract the three hired killers.
Investigators also told the newspaper they were in regular contact with Europol – the EU’s law enforcement agency – over the case.
“We have a large amount of data that requires analysing, and partners like Europol have the necessary experience and expertise to help facilitate this process,” a source said.
The Malta Police Force did not respond to comment on the story. But the journalist’s family – who has previously claimed her killers are being protected – said investigators had not informed them of the new developments.