Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed on Oct 16 by a bomb that destroyed her car on a rural Malta road, after she exposed her govt’s involvement with the Panama papers
The assassins who killed Panama Papers journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia used a fatal text message sent from a boat out at sea, according to a report.
Authorities on the Mediterranean island of Malta arrested ten people for the explosion last month that killed the lauded 53-year-old blogger known for her criticism of the government.
Galizia an investigative journalist, was assassinated in her native Malta after exposing alleged corruption through the Panama Papers.
Daphne Galizia was killed by a car bomb while driving near her home in Bidnija, Malta on October 16. Her family and friends immediately focused on the government that bristled at her acerbic blog.
The slain journalist had written that Prime Minister Muscat’s wife maintained an offshore account which she used to launder money for high-level Azerbaijan figures.
Of the ten initial suspects, all Maltese males, three have now been charged, with a report in Malta Today on Wednesday revealing details of the investigation, including how they allegedly set off the powerful bomb on her car.
George Degiorgi and his brother Alfred Degiorgio may have been the trigger men but, the consensus is that they were only subcontracted for the job
George Degiorgio is believed to have been on his cabin cruiser out at sea when he sent the fatal text message
Brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, 54 and 52, were joined by Vincent Muscat, 55, in the reported scheme, which involved an electronic device attached the explosive that was put on the vehicle the morning of the blast.
George Degiorgio, stationed on a boat out at sea, is alleged to have sent the text message to the device that triggered the killing after receiving a signal from his brother, Malta Today reported.
Seven other men, all of them Maltese, were released on bail as authorities continue the investigation into those already charged, who all have previous criminal records.
Galizia’s family has repeatedly questioned the independence of the investigation by authorities, who were often the target of her blog.
Forensic experts at the site of the explosion that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia
The slain journalist was most famous for using information in the Panama Papers leaks to allege illicit activity between the inner circle of Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his allegedly, less than savory relationship with the ruling family of Azerbaijan.
Galizia had been quite critical of Muscat, whose inner circle she alleged was receiving money from the ruling family of Azerbaijan.
The government, which denies wrongdoing, promised to bring her killers to justice and calling Caruana Galizia’s Oct. 16 murder a “case of extraordinary importance.”said Monday morning that the group of eight had been taken into custody.
Reports after her death said the explosive Semtex was used in the bomb, prompting speculation that the weapon came from somewhere other than the island off the coast of Sicily. This was dispelled when sources close to the investigation told multiple news outlets on Wednesday that the explosive was instead TNT, meaning the device could have been made on the island.
Police Forensic units search for evidence on the main road in Bidnija, Malta, which leading to Daphne Galizia’s house after she was killed by a blast leaving her home, on Oct. 19
Memorial for slain Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Galizia
Daphne Galizia’s son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, works for the International Consortium of Journalists behind the Panama Papers, a trove of records from a law firm that she used in her work.
He had earlier compared the political situation around his mother’s death to a “mafia state” where assassins could operate with impunity.
According to police sources, the suspects were identified after investigators spent weeks sifting through thousands of phone calls connected to the number that placed the call which detonated the bomb in Caruana Galizia’s car and identified a number of persons of interest.
Vincent Muscat covers his face as police walk him after his arrest
The consensus opinion among experts from Malta, Europol and the FBI is that the device was triggered by mobile phone from miles away, in this case a cabin cruiser at sea, after a spotter gave indication of Caruana Galizia’s movements on the fatal day.
The command structure of the criminal operation is understood to have been very loosely connected and the assassination is thought to have been sub-contracted and then sub-contracted again to make the figure who ultimately ordered Caruana Galizia’s killing harder to trace. That figure has not yet been identified.
Prosecutors have not released a motive for the killing.
The brothers and their accomplice have been charged with, homicide, engaging in organized crime, criminal conspiracy, criminal use of explosives.
Significantly, MaltaToday reports, ‘Such is the delicate nature of the case at hand that many of Malta’s top criminal lawyers are understood to have turned down the brief for a number of different reasons, all unwilling to be associated with these proceedings, despite the high-profile nature of the case’.