The suspect confessed to killing the Maltese journalist

The suspect confessed to killing the Maltese journalist

  • George DiGiorgio pleaded guilty in an interview from prison
  • Says others will be involved in the murder plot
  • Journalist Daphne Carvana Galicia was killed in the year 1

VILETA, July 5 (Reuters) – The man accused of killing a prominent Maltese journalist in a car bombing has pleaded guilty in an interview with a Reuters reporter and said he would soon release her. Involved others in the assassination plot.

Speaking from prison in his first comment on the case, George DiGiorgio said if he had more information about Daphne Carvajal Galicia – the journalist he and two others are accused of killing in 2017 – he would be arrested. He may have demanded more money to carry out the attack. .

“If I had known, I would have taken 10 million, not 150,000,” he said, referring to the euro that he paid to kill the journalist.

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“For me it was just business. Yes. Business as usual!” He told a Reuters reporter. He added, “Of course I’m sorry.”

The interview with Diggio was conducted during a research for a podcast in the Caravana Galicia case, entitled “Who Killed Daphne?”

His confession dates back to 2021 after several attempts by Diggio’s lawyers to obtain an apology in exchange for testimony about Diggio’s role in the murder of Caravan Galicia and includes celebrities on the island.

On June 22, the Malta Court of Appeal dismissed the remaining legal challenge to the murder charges against him and his brother Alfred by the Diogenes, who are co-accused. Judgment paves the way for the trial to proceed.

The car bombing of an investigative journalist and blogger shocked across Europe. Maltese authorities have accused Diggiogio and two other men – his brother Alfred and a friend, Venus Muscat – of killing Carvajal Galicia in October 2017 at the behest of a senior island businessman.

Diggio told Reuters he would plead guilty before a jury trial. “I will talk to the judge,” he said. He indicated that he would testify that others were involved in the murder and in a previously unknown conspiracy to assassinate the journalist. His goal, he said, was to ask for a reduced sentence for himself and Alfred and to make sure “we don’t just go!”

Earlier, DeGiorgio had denied any involvement in the killings. Muscat pleaded guilty to murder in 2020 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison in exchange for testifying in this case and some other crimes.

J ټاrgen Finch, one of the island’s richest businessmen, was also accused in November 2019 of paying a commission to Diggio and two of his colleagues to carry out the attack. Finch has denied the allegations but has not yet defended himself. In a statement, his lawyer, Gianluca Caruana Curran, said Finch planned to prove in court that “he did not want at any time, to actively investigate or sponsor Caravan Galicia’s murder.” .

“While strongly objecting to his innocence, Mr. Finch insists that with the available evidence, an independent and serious investigation has the potential to lead to the arrest and prosecution of the main perpetrators behind the killings.”

Phoenix was identified as the mastermind by one of the accused mediators, taxi driver Melvin Touma, who had fled the prosecution for his role in the case in exchange for testimony. Tuma said he had arranged the killing on behalf of Finch, along with the DeGiorgio brothers. He testified that he never said the identity of Diggio Ganguly Finch.

In an interview, DiGiorgio said he was ready to testify that a senior Maltese political figure had tried to organize an attack on Caravana Galicia in a separate plot two years ago. DiGiorgio also said he would offer evidence on the involvement of two senior former ministers in the armed robbery.

Reuters has not released further details of the allegations at this stage or the names of those accused by Diggio, all of whom deny involvement in any crime.

The Maltese police force and prosecutors who are handling the murder case did not respond to a request for comment.

In another statement to Reuters through their lawyers, George and Alfred DiGiorgio said they were seeking a verdict on the confession “in accordance with what they had previously handed over to Vincent Muscat. “Say what we know about other killings, bombings and crimes. We apologize. We insist that the families of other victims be brought to justice.”

Caravana Galicia was assassinated after she made a series of allegations of corruption against celebrities, including ministers in the island’s Labor Party government. Her murder raised suspicions that some of the people she is investigating may have been involved in the plot to assassinate her.

Phoenix, who is accused of orchestrating the 2017 successful attack, was first identified in a November 2018 article by Reuters and the Times of Malta about Caravan Galicia. The report named him as the owner of a company called 17 Blake that Carvajal Galicia claimed, without providing evidence, was used to bribe politicians. Finch was also the head of a controversial power project in Malta.

According to prosecutors’ evidence presented to the court in several preliminary hearings since 2018, George DiGiorgio and his team pursued the journalist in the summer of 2017. In the early hours of October 16, 2017, prosecutors claimed the group planted a bomb under a chair. In her car

That afternoon, DiGiorgio was allegedly on a boat in Grand Harbor on the island when his brother Alfred, who was overseeing the house, called out that Caravan Galicia had entered her car and fled. Prosecutors told the court that DeGiorgio then sent a text message from the boat to a mobile device that the bomb had exploded.

After the car exploded, Caravan Galicia’s son Matthew heard the explosion, left the family home and found his mother’s body. He has been campaigning for justice for his mother ever since. Asked about DeGiorgio’s revelations, he told Reuters: “George DeGeorge’s point is that he is a stone ice killer who deserves no release.”

Arrested two months after the murder, George DiGiorgio did not say anything to police, even refusing to give his name during the investigation. Until the Reuters interview, he had remained silent, and four years had passed since his lawyers were involved in the murder. He has also filed a number of legal challenges against the evidence against him.

But he is now seeking a deal with the prosecution before the trial, in exchange for admitting the allegations and providing new information.

Alfred DiGiorgio, like his brother, has pleaded not guilty to murder charges but has not presented his case. He has also made several pleas for acquittal in exchange for testifying about what he knows.

George DiGiorgio said that before he took over the job, he did not know much about Caravana Galicia or her family, including the fact that they were ordinary people, not criminals. “That’s it. Of course! I’ve never seen her in my life,” he said.

Since March 2021, the Diorgeo brothers have made several bids for a formal apology for their crimes. The latter, recorded on April 4 by their lawyer, William Koshery, without giving names or details, said De Georgios could testify to the crimes of “violent robbery and attempted voluntary murder that an author There was a minister and another writer. Who is a minister? ” According to an official statement, citing the National Interest and Justice Agency, the request was rejected by the Maltese government on April 4.

The Prime Minister of Malta, Robert Abella, before denouncing Diogenes’ efforts to win an amnesty, called them “criminals” seeking their release. DeGeorge’s lawyer, Koshiri, responded by saying that the prime minister was violating their rights to a fair trial and without elaborating said his brothers had “direct information” about the minister’s involvement in the crime.

More details of the podcast

Written and hosted by Reuters reporter Stephen Gray, “Who Killed Daphne?” The six-part podcast is a follow-up to the fight for justice by Matthew, son of Daphne Caravan Galicia – and a project to continue Daphne’s work by a group of journalists. . Produced by the global podcast studio Vondry, it airs on July 11 on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all other podcast platforms, or is now available on Vondry +.

((Reporting by Stephen Gray; Additional Reporting by Jacob Burg of the Times of Malta; Editing by Janet McBride))

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