Hunt for Missing Bomb Linked to Maltese Casino Tycoon on Trial for Journalist’s Murder
Posted on: October 18, 2021, 06:38h.
Last updated on: October 18, 2021, 09:43h.
Maltese authorities are hunting for a bomb they believe was smuggled into the Mediterranean island-nation and hidden by a criminal group linked to the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Caruana Galizia was killed in a car-bomb attack four years ago that made international headlines. Prosecutors believe casino tycoon Yorgen Fenech ordered the hit to stop her exposing an allegedly corrupt energy contract awarded to his company by Malta’s government.
They claim Fenech paid three men, brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, and their associate, Vince Muscat, to carry out the attack.
According to police, the bomb that killed Caruana Galizia was one of three smuggled into Malta from Albania by two drugs traffickers, Jamie Vella and Robert Agius, in 2016 or 2017. They believe two of those bombs have been used to kill or maim. The third is still out there.
According to Muscat, who has cooperated with authorities since his arrest, the first was used in the attempted murder of suspected gangster Romeo Bone, allegedly by Agius and his brother, Adrian Agius.
Bone was investigated but never charged by police over the 2008 assassination of the brothers’ father, Raymond Aigus.
The blast tore off Bone’s legs, but he survived. Muscat said the gang later learned from this mistake.
When they planted the bomb that killed Caruana Galizia, they were careful to place it directly under her seat. The bomb used in the attack on Bone had been placed by the wheel, which had minimized its impact.
All seven alleged conspirators are currently in custody and have been charged with offenses related to Galizia’s death. The Aigus brothers, Vella, and George Degiorgio are also facing charges in connection with the killing of lawyer Carmel Chircorp, who was shot dead in a parking garage in 2015.
Fenech, one of Malta’s richest men, was arrested in November 2019 as he tried to flee the island on his yacht, bound for Dubai.
Government Brought Down
At the time of her death, Caruana Galizia was looking into a Dubai-registered company named 17Black, which was later found to be controlled by Fenech.
According to documents uncovered in the Panama Papers leak, 17Black planned to make a $2 million payment to two secret offshore companies owned by the prime minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and former energy minister Konrad Mizzi.
The pair deny involvement in corruption and have not been charged with any crime. The scandal led to widespread government resignations, including that of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
Over the weekend, on the fourth anniversary of her death, hundreds gathered in the Maltese capital, Valetta, to remember Caruana Galizia and protest corruption in the tiny island-state.
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