Malta court charges 3 with murder of journalist, 7 on bail

VALLETTA, Malta — A Maltese court charged three men Tuesday with the car-bomb slaying of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, as details from the investigation indicated she was killed by a remote-controlled explosion of TNT.

Seven other Maltese men were released on bail pending further investigation.

The arrest of the 10 men Monday was the first breakthrough in the Oct. 16 killing that shocked this Mediterranean island and led the European Parliament to send a delegation on a fact-finding mission related to the rule of law in Malta.

The three main suspects, who all had previous police records, arrived under heavy police escort at the court late Tuesday and pleaded innocent to the charges, which included murder and possession of explosive material. They were represented by a court-appointed lawyer.

Peter Caruana Galizia, the victim’s husband, attended the hearing.

Daphne Caruana Galizia was a leading investigative reporter whose exposes focused on corruption, drug trafficking and scandals involving Malta’s elite. She was killed when a bomb blew up in her car she drove near her home.

Ahead of the arraignment, officials with knowledge of the investigation said FBI equipment helped in the collection of “electronic communication evidence” that led to the suspects. The evidence included triangulation data of the call that triggered the bomb that killed Caruana Galizia.

The type of explosive used was TNT, the officials also said, contradicting earlier reports that Semtex plastic explosive had been used. The officials agreed to discuss the case only if not quoted by name because they weren’t authorized to release details.

The officials said the investigation into the other seven arrested men would continue, but with no charges being filed the men had to be released under Maltese law within 48 hours of their arrest. They were forced to turn over their passports and must check in regularly with police.

The three suspects ordered held all had previous brushes with the police. Two of them, Vincent Muscat, 55, and Alfred Degiorgio, 52, were acquitted in 2004 on armed robbery charges while Degiorgio’s brother George, 54, was charged with possession of unlicensed weapons and tools used to pick locks. Muscat, who shares the Maltese prime minister’s last name but is not a relative, also was critically injured in a 2014 shooting from which he recovered.

At a news conference announcing the arrests Monday, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the FBI helped Maltese police in their investigation together with Europol, the European Union’s police agency and other European investigators, including from Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation.

Muscat said the suspects were arrested on “reasonable suspicion” of involvement in Caruana Galizia’s killing. He would not give more details, citing concerns that divulging information could compromise the case.

Minutes before her death, Caruana Galizia, 53, had posted on her blog, Running Commentary, that there were “crooks everywhere” in Malta.

Malta has a reputation as a tax haven in the European Union and has attracted companies and money from outside Europe as well.

Last week, a European Parliament delegation expressed concerns over the rule of law in Malta and issued a warning that the “perception of impunity in Malta cannot continue.”

Late Tuesday, Malta’s prime minister — a frequent target of Caruana Galizia’s reporting — said her slaying was “the worst chapter of my time as prime minister.”

Malta

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Curbside concerts to start this month in some Red Deer neighbourhoods

Red Deer Arts Council is organizing at least eight outdoor shows

46 new COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday in Alberta

Province has completed more than 500,000 COVID-19 tests

Red Deer RCMP downtown detachment to reopen front counter service

Police say new health protection measures will be in place

Two suspects arrested in connection to Parkland Mall shooting

Two suspects connected to the June 30 shooting at Parkland Mall have… Continue reading

High unemployment, $343B deficit projected in Liberals’ fiscal snapshot

Slow economic growth forecast until at least the end of 2021

Grizzly bears in the dark as they try to share living space with humans: study

Grizzly bears in the dark as they try to share living space with humans: study

‘You haunt my dreams:’ Sex assault victim confronts ex-nightclub worker in court

‘You haunt my dreams:’ Sex assault victim confronts ex-nightclub worker in court

Alberta bill proposes major changes to union strike rules and funding

Alberta bill proposes major changes to union strike rules and funding

Alberta air force base to use goats, sheep to chew down unwanted vegetation

Alberta air force base to use goats, sheep to chew down unwanted vegetation

Calgary officer justified in fatal shooting of man having mental crisis: ASIRT

Calgary officer justified in fatal shooting of man having mental crisis: ASIRT

Gave up seat for Kenney to run: Premier defends hiring ex-MLA for trade office

Gave up seat for Kenney to run: Premier defends hiring ex-MLA for trade office

Southern Alberta hailstorm caused almost $1.2B in damage: insurance bureau

Southern Alberta hailstorm caused almost $1.2B in damage: insurance bureau

Kanye West breaks with Trump, claims 2020 run is not a stunt

Kanye West breaks with Trump, claims 2020 run is not a stunt

Most Read