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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Ten arrested over journalist's murder in Malta

Malta's prime minister announced the first arrests in a car bomb attack that has aimed the spotlight on corruption within the EU's smallest member

Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announces the first arrests in the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. (AP Photo)
Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announces the first arrests in the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. (AP Photo)

Ten Maltese nationals have been arrested over the car bomb attack that killed a prominent investigative journalist whose coruscating articles targeted the island’s political elite.

The arrests were the first since Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed while driving near her home more than seven weeks ago.

The investigation appeared to be continuing throughout Monday, as police and armed forces had cordoned off an area in Marsa, a small port town close to Valletta, the capital.

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Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced the arrests on Monday but declined to give further details because of concerns it could jeopardise any future prosecution. “As I stated as soon as I learned about this barbaric act, we will leave no stone unturned to get this case solved.”

Investigators have 48 hours to question the suspects to decide whether to seek charges, in accordance with Maltese law. Europol, the European Union's police agency, has sent a team of organized crime experts to help Maltese police investigate the assassination, joining the FBI and Dutch forensic experts.

The journalist focused her reporting for years on investigating political corruption and scandals, and reported on Maltese mobsters and drug trafficking. She also wrote about Maltese links to the so-called Panama Papers leaks about offshore financial havens.

Just before her death, Ms Caruana Galizia, 53, had posted on her closely followed blog, Running Commentary, that there were "crooks everywhere" in Malta. Many top officials had sued her over her reporting. Caruana Galizia made plain she didn't trust the island's police or judiciary to adequately investigate many of the wrongdoings she alleged.