Malta 'identifies masterminds' of Daphne Caruana Galizia murder

Investigative journalist's murder last year stunned the small island country and prompted international condemnation.

    Caruana Galizia ran a hugely popular blog in which she highlighted cases of alleged high-level corruption [Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters]
    Caruana Galizia ran a hugely popular blog in which she highlighted cases of alleged high-level corruption [Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters]

    Authorities on Malta have identified several people believed to be behind the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, according to local media.

    The 53-year-old was killed in October 2017 when a powerful bomb exploded in her car as she drove away from her home in Mosta, a small town outside the capital, Valletta. 

    The killing sent shockwaves throughout the small island country and prompted international condemnation.

    In a report on Sunday, the Times of Malta said authorities have identified "a group of more than two Maltese nationals" that allegedly masterminded the murder, but refused to give any details about them.

    There was no immediate comment from the police on the report.

    Caruana Galizia's death was believed to be a result of her reporting on her popular blog, Running Commentary, where she highlighted alleged high-level corruption by politicians across party lines.

    She also covered criminal gangs and drug trafficking and was responsible for exposing Malta's links with the so-called "Panama Papers" document leak, which revealed the identities of the rich and powerful with offshore holdings in the Central American country.

    It is unclear if the suspects are from the criminal, business or political world, local media said. 

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    Three people were arrested for carrying out the bombing shortly after the murder, but critics have alleged that the investigation has not focused enough on who gave the orders for it.

    Following the killing, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who had previously faced accusations of wrongdoing by Caruana Galizia, denounced the murder, calling it a "barbaric attack on press freedom".

    The journalist revealed that Muscat's wife, Michelle, as well as Muscat's energy minister and the government's chief-of-staff, held companies in Panama by looking into the 2016 document leak. Muscat and his wife deny they held such companies, as well as any wrongdoing.

    International organisations, including the European Union, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders all condemned Caruana Galizia's death, calling for independent investigations into the killing.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News