Eight arrested over murder of Panama Papers investigative journalist killed by car bomb in Malta


Eight people have been arrested over the murder of one of the journalists behind the Panama Papers investigation.

Renowned blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, was killed by a car bomb as she left her home in northern Malta in October.

Detectives believe the killer detonated the bomb remotely with a mobile phone, it was previously revealed.

a woman standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Credits: AFP © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: AFP Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced the arrests today, saying all of the suspects are Maltese nationals and most have a criminal record.

The killing shocked the small Mediterranean island, with Mr Muscat previously promising a cash reward to anyone who came forward with information about the murder as the journalist’s family called on him to resign.

Mrs Caruana Galizia’s son Matthew Caruana Galizia, a journalist himself, was at home when his mother was killed.

She had filed a complaint to police a fortnight before her death after receiving personal threats to her safety, local media said.

She ran a hugely popular blog relentlessly highlighting cases of alleged corruption, often involving politicians from the Mediterranean island nation.

a man standing on top of a dirt field: Credits: REUTERS © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: REUTERS Mr Caruana Galizia had earlier lashed out at the authorities for failing to protect his mother.

In a Facebook post he wrote: “My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it, like many strong journalists.

a group of people standing next to a tree: Credits: AFP © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: AFP “But she was also targeted because she was the only person doing so.

“This is what happens when the institutions of the state are incapacitated: the last person left standing is often a journalist.

a truck driving down a dirt road: Credits: AFP © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: AFP “Which makes her the first person left dead.

“I am never going to forget, running around the inferno in the field, trying to figure out a way to open the door, the horn of the car still blaring, screaming at two policemen who turned up with a single fire extinguisher to use it.

“They stared at me. ‘I’m sorry, there is nothing we can do’, one of them said.

Credits: REUTERS © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: REUTERS “I looked down and there were my mother’s body parts all around me. I realised they were right, it was hopeless.

“‘Who is in the car?’, they asked me. My mother is in the car. She is dead. She is dead because of your incompetence.”

Mr Muscat, who faced accusations of wrong-doing by Ms Caruana Galizia earlier this year, had earlier denounced her killing.

Credits: REUTERS © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: REUTERS He called it a “barbaric attack on press freedom”.

Mr Caruana Galizia had previously written on Facebook: “A few hours later, while that clown of a Prime Minister was making statements to parliament about a journalist he spent over a decade demonising and harassing, one of the police sergeants who is supposed to be investigating her murder, Ramon Mifsud, posted on Facebook, ‘Everyone gets what they deserve, cow dung! Feeling happy :)'”

He continued: “Yes, this is where we are: a mafia state where you can now change your gender on your ID card (thank God for that!) but where you will be blown to pieces for exercising your basic freedoms. How did we get here?

a group of people sitting at a table in a dark room: Credits: REUTERS © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: REUTERS “A culture of impunity has been allowed to flourish by the government in Malta.

“It is of little comfort for the Prime Minister of this country to say that he will “not rest” until the perpetrators are found, when he heads a government that encouraged that same impunity.

“If the institutions were already working, there would be no assassination to investigate – and my brothers and I would still have a mother.”

The Prime Minister had called early elections in June seeking a vote of confidence to counter Mrs Caruana Galizia’s allegations of corruption.

The report had said documents in a small Malta-based bank showed that his wife was the beneficial owner of a company in Panama, and that large sums of money had been moved between the company and bank accounts in Azerbaijan.

Both Muscat and his wife denied the accusation and sued Mrs Caruana Galizia for defamation.

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