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One of the men accused of carrying out the 2017 murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia admitted to the killing in an interview with Reuters, saying he would have asked for more money in exchange if he’d known how important the reporter was.
George Degiorgio, who was arrested in 2017 and charged with Caruana Galizia’s murder, said he should have charged 100 million euros instead of the 150,000 he claims he was paid to carry out the car bomb killing, adding that for him the murder was “business as usual.”
Degiorgio said in a jailhouse interview with Reuters he plans to name others involved in the murder-for-hire and an earlier plot to kill the journalist that he says was ordered by a high-level Maltese politician two years before Caruana Galizia was killed.
It’s the first time Degiorgio confessed to the killing, and he said he plans to implicate others so that he and his brother Alfred, who is also accused of taking part in the murder, can receive reduced sentencing, telling Reuters, “We’re not going down alone.”
Caruana Galizia’s death in 2017 shook the small island country of Malta, located between Sicily and Tunisia. Described by Politico as a “one-woman WikiLeaks,” Caruana Galizia covered corruption in Malta and in 2017, her reporting helped trigger a snap election after she published allegations that then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s wife, Michelle, accepted a $1 million payment through a Panamanian shell company from the daughter of the Azerbaijani president. Caruana Galizia was killed instantly after a car bomb placed in her car went off as she drove near her home Bidnija, Malta. The Degiorgio brothers and their associate Vince Muscat (who has no relation to the former prince minister) were charged with killing Caruana Galizia, and until now, the Degiorgios have denied involvement. Last month, Malta’s appeal court rejected the brothers’ legal challenges, which will allow the two to appear at trial. Muscat pleaded guilty to murder charges in last year. In exchange for testifying about the case and other crimes, Muscat received a reduced sentence of 15 years in jail. In 2019, authorities also charged Yorgen Fenech–one of Malta’s wealthiest businessmen–with ordering the murder, which Fenech denies. At the time of her death, Caruana Galizia was investigating a controversial deal involving a Maltese power station co-owned by Fenech.
Exclusive: Suspect confesses to killing Malta journalist, says hit was “just business” (Reuters)