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Panama Papers reporter’s killer set off car bomb via text: officials

The man accused of murdering an anti-corruption journalist in Malta set off the car bomb that killed her via text message from a boat out at sea, officials said Wednesday.

Three men have been charged in the Oct. 16 death of Daphne Caruana Galizia, who led the Panama Papers probe into corruption on the tiny island nation in the Mediterranean.

The three –- identified as Vincent Muscat, 55, Alfred Degiorgio, 52, and his brother George, 54 — have all pleaded not guilty to charges including murder and possession of explosive material.

George Degiorgio, known as Ic-Ciniz, allegedly sent the text message from a cabin cruiser after receiving a signal from his brother Alfred, known as il-Fulu, who acted as a lookout in Bidnija, sources told Malta Today.

The bomb was placed under the driver’s seat of Caruana Galizia’s rented car, which had been parked in the alleyway that leads to her house in Bidnija, according to the news outlet.


Daphne Caruana GaliziaAP

An electronic device with a sim card triggered the explosion. The electronic signals it emitted helped officials piece together the suspects’ actions.

Sources told the outlet that the bomb, which was made of TNT, may have been manufactured in Malta.

It was unclear whether mobile phones and other electronic devices found under the sea in Marsa, an inland area of Valletta harbor, were the same ones used in the crime, Malta Today reported.

George Degiorgio’s cabin cruiser was found berthed in Marsa when authorities raided a former potato shed and arrested the three suspects.

Caruana Galizia, 53, wrote a popular blog that highlighted cases of alleged graft and drug trafficking among Malta’s political elite, including Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

She also wrote about Maltese links to the Panama Papers leaks on offshore financial havens.

Minutes before her death, Caruana Galizia had posted on her blog, Running Commentary, that there were “crooks everywhere” in Malta.

The prime minister has labeled her killing an attack on press freedom, and called in the FBI to help local police investigate.

Members of a European Union fact-find mission warned last week there was a “perception of impunity” in Malta, where Caruana Galizia’s son said she was killed because of her work.

All three of the suspects had previous brushes with the law.


The wreckage of the car of Daphne Caruana Galizia after a car bomb killed her in October 2016.AP

Muscat and Alfred Degiorgio were acquitted in 2004 on armed robbery charges, while George Degiorgio was charged with possession of unlicensed weapons and tools used to pick locks.

Muscat, who shares the prime minister’s last name but is not a relative, also was critically injured in a 2014 shooting from which he recovered.

With Post Wires

Article source: https://nypost.com/2017/12/06/panama-papers-reporters-killer-set-off-car-bomb-via-text-officials/

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