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Mon, 6 December 2021
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“HALF-GOOD” NEWS ON ARRESTS FOR DAPHNE MURDER

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The arrest of – supposedly – the rest of the gang who killed the famous Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017 was “half-good news”, AEJ President Saia Tsaousidou said today. “But not more than that.”

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s blog on political corruption on the island earned her a reputation as a one-woman WikiLeaks. Her murder with a car bomb near her home in 2017 mired Malta’s ruling Labour party in political scandal. Prime minister Joseph Muscat resigned in 2019 over allegations that members of his administration had tried to sabotage the police investigation.

Daphne’s son Matthew, who addressed the AEJ conference in Paris in December 2019 , told the AEJ today “What has happened is a step from no to partial justice. The homicide squad has done a good job, but there are severe problems with Malta’s capacity to fight corruption.”

He went on: “Politicians were heavily involved in corruption, along with the people being prosecuted for murder. My mother’s exposure of that corruption, between government officials and people in business, led directly to her murder. The next step towards full justice is prosecution of those officials for their involvement in high-level corruption is not over,”

Two new suspects were arraigned in Valletta on February 23, and Malta’s national police chief Commissioner Angelo Gafa told the press they, along with the seven who have admitted or been charged with involvement in the murder, meant everyone had been arrested who might have been involved.

The most prominent is property and energy tycoon Yorgen Fenech, who pleads not guilty to organising the murder, and a taxi driver who has already confessed to being the middleman. Fenech was arrested in 2019 as he tried to leave Malta on his yacht. A former friend of the tycoon, Melvin Theuma, is now living in a safe house, under police protection.

At 11 pm on Wednesday night Robert Agius and his associate Jamie Vella pleaded not guilty to complicity in the killing. Vella and Robert’s brother Adrian were also charged with, and denied, involvement in a second murder in 2015, the shooting of a lawyer called Carmel Chircop.

Raids on homes and vehicles belonging to the Agius brothers and Vella uncovered €70,000 in cash, guns, 350g of heroin, and two sachets of cocaine. Europol has been tasked with extracting data from 25 mobile phones and two laptops.

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