Suspect in murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia pleads guilty

Elias Hubbard
February 26, 2021

A fourth man, prominent businessman Yorgen Fenech, has been charged with organizing and financing the killing.

Ms Caruana Galizia's killing led to global calls for accountability, as her investigative reporting had targeted the government of then-premier Joseph Muscat with claims that corruption was everywhere in political and business circles in the tiny European Union island nation.

In a statement read out by their lawyer, Jason Azzopardi, the victim's family expressed their "hope that this development will begin the road for total justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia".

He said investigators had no evidence so far that a politician was involved in the murder.

Sant noted that he does not represent the two other suspects charged with murder, brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio, but he told CNN they continue to plead not guilty.

However, on Tuesday, Muscat changed his plea. Asked by the judge Edwina Grima, Muscat replied twice: "Guilty".

The three men seized on Tuesday were named as Jamie Vella and brothers Adrian and Robert Agius.

He was sentenced just hours later to 15 years in prison, in a deal with the prosecution in which he renounced his right to appeal.

Muscat must also pay 43,000 euros (52,240 dollars) in court fees.

Muscat is one of three men accused of planting and detonating the bomb that killed Caruana Galizia in her auto in October 2017.

She was killed in a auto bomb targeting her vehicle not far from her home in the north of the island.

Muscat is not related to Joseph Muscat, the former prime minister who was in office when Caruana Galizia was killed and resigned in December 2019 to "shoulder political responsibility".

Muscat stepped down in January 2020 after the investigation into the murder implicated some of his closest collaborators.

Muscat is understood to have information linking those three men to the Caruana Galizia murder as well as other gangland killings in Malta, including the 2015 murder of lawyer Carmel Chircop.

Fenech is now awaiting trial for being the mastermind.

Mr Fenech, who was arrested as he tried to sail away from Malta on a yacht in November 2019, is awaiting trial.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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