Maltese police arrest 'middleman' suspect in Daphne Caruana Galizia murder
A man suspected to have been the middleman in the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has been arrested, a police source said on Tuesday, in a potentially major step forward in the investigation.
The middleman is believed to have linked the person suspected of commissioning her murder, to the men accused of carrying out the killing, as well as those who helped procure the explosive device used in the operation.
The Times of Malta has reported that the government is considering a pardon if the suspected middleman can lead investigators to the mastermind.
Caruana Galizia, a well-known investigative journalist who wrote an anti-corruption blog, was killed by a car bomb near the Maltese capital Valletta in October 2017 - a murder that shocked Europe and raised questions about the rule of law on the Mediterranean island.
A police source with direct knowledge of the matter said the arrest was made on Thursday as part of a separate investigation. According to the Times, he was held during a police raid to break up an alleged money laundering ring in which he is believed to be implicated.
He is thought to have made claims that the police are looking to corroborate. Detectives are following an alleged money trail between the suspected middleman and three men accused of killing the 53-year-old journalist.
The men, who include two brothers, were charged with triggering the car bomb in December 2017. The trial is yet to take place.
The government was expected to consider the latest suspect's request for a pardon at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. There is said to be reluctance among ministers to grant it, and the prime minister has said that no-one would be able to act with impunity.
Joseph Muscat said on Sunday that he wanted all the facts from the case to emerge.
In September a public inquiry was ordered into Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder, in response to recommendations made in a report by the Council of Europe - a non-EU human rights body with 47 member states. It said the failure of the Maltese authorities to bring perpetrators to trial raised serious questions about the rule of law on the island.
The independence of the inquiry has been questioned by the murdered journalist's sons.