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Looks Like Businessman Paid $500K to Kill Journo

The Daphne Caruana Galizia case is heating up in Malta
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2019 11:10 AM CST
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Undated file photo of Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri, who was arrested this week for questioning as a person of interest in the October 2017 car-bomb murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.   (AP Photo/str)
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(Newser) – A probe into the killing of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has led investigators all the way to the halls of power in Malta, the Guardian reports. Last week, prominent Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech was arrested after trying to flee the country on his yacht, and told authorities that Keith Schembri—who until Tuesday was the Maltese prime minister's chief of staff—masterminded the plot to blow up Galizia's car in 2017. Fenech is apparently seeking legal immunity and police caution that not all his claims are reliable. Schembri has been arrested released on bail.

Meanwhile, recordings of a taxi driver talking to Fenech allegedly reveal that the multi-millionaire paid roughly $500,000 to three men who murdered the crusading journalist, per Malta Today. There's also a family doctor who's been questioned for allegedly trying to help Fenech escape Malta for Dubai. As for Galizia, she had tenaciously revealed Maltese corruption and linked the Panama Papers to top local politicians. Big picture: Her case reminds us that EU rule of law is threatened by any country infected with organized crime and official corruption—not just "illiberal" central European regimes, says the Financial Times. At least 80 journalists were murdered worldwide last year over their work. (See how Galizia's case is apparently linked to "government trolls.")

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