The masterminds behind the brutal murder of an investigative journalist in Malta have been identified, local media reported.
Investigators believe the suspects had different motives for carrying out the assassination but came together to contract the three Maltese nationals accused of having planted the bomb, who are in police custody.
The violent murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, author of a widely-read anti-corruption blog, raised questions about the influence of organized crime within the Mediterranean island and in the political and business circles of the European Union.
Top criminal investigators identified a group of “more than two” Maltese nationals who they believe masterminded the plot, local daily newspaper The Times of Malta reported. The investigation into who commissioned the car bomb was at a “very advanced stage”, the officials said, with the main suspects now having been identified.
No indication has yet been given as to whether the suspects are part of the business or political world.
Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio and Vincent Muscat have been in custody since December 2017 for planting and triggering the car bomb that killed Ms Caruana Galizia in October 2017 a few metres from her Bidnija home, near the island’s capital Valletta.
The three men are known criminals with a string of high profile crimes to their names.
The family of the victim said they were not ‘formally’ informed of the developments.
The murder sent shock waves across Malta. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who also faced accusations of wrongdoing by Ms Caruana Galizia, called the murder a “barbaric attack on press freedom”.