Malta arrests ‘person of interest’ in 2017 slaying of journalist

Investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, pictured in 2016, was killed by a car bomb in Malta in 2017.
(Associated Press)

Malta authorities on Wednesday arrested a prominent Maltese businessman who appears to be a “person of interest” in the assassination of a leading investigative reporter.

Yorgen Fenech was on a yacht intercepted on a northward course away from Malta by the Maltese military early Wednesday and forced back to port.

In remarks to reporters, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat did not directly tie the arrest to the murder of 53-year-old Daphne Caruana Galizia in a powerful car bomb in October 2017. But he did say that it appeared to result from comments he made a day earlier about the possibility of a pardon for an alleged middleman who had offered to identify the mastermind of the killing.

Muscat said he instructed police to be on the lookout for unusual actions by “people of interest” in the long-unsolved murder after announcing Tuesday that a pardon would be possible for the middleman if information he provided could stand up in court.


“If I had not given these instructions, maybe today we might be speaking of persons of interest who might have escaped,’’ Muscat told reporters.

He declined to comment further out of concern that any comments might prejudice a case.

No details of charges against Fenech have been revealed, but authorities would have 48 hours to decide on them.

Fenech is a prominent hotelier and director of the Maltese power company. His name was on leaked documents as a source of income for companies named in the Panama papers.