Moscow, Nov 29 (GCCurrentAffairs) Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who has recently faced calls to step down as a probe is believed to have linked members of his cabinet with the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, said after hours-long cabinet meeting that he will not resign as long as the investigation is underway.
Late on Thursday, the cabinet members gathered in Muscat’s office amid a political crisis that erupted in Malta due to developments in the murder probe. Media said the officials were expected to discuss a pardon request by businessman Yorgen Fenech, one of the main suspects in the case, among other things.
“I will stay on until the investigation is complete,” Muscat told reporters after the seven-hour meeting, as quoted by Malta Today.
Muscat added that his colleagues decided not to pardon Fenech.
When asked if his former Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri, who, Fenech said, was a mastermind of the murder, would be reinstated on his position, Muscat said he would not.
Schembri stepped down and was arrested on Tuesday amid media reports that Fenech said he was behind the murder of Caruana Galizia. However, the official was subsequently released.
Media have reported that Fenech had applied for a presidential pardon in exchange for information on roles played by people close to Muscat, including Schembri and former Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, in the assassination. Mizzi, who also worked as Malta’s energy minister, resigned earlier this week, too.
Moreover, Fenech filed a constitutional case asking to remove Keith Arnaud from the position of the chief investigator in the journalist murder case, which the police have dismissed.
Fenech is believed to be the owner of Dubai-based company 17 Black. Caruana Galizia first reported about the company in February 2017. The journalist then suggested that Maltese politicians, including Muscat, Schembri and Mizzi, used it for their illegal financial operations involving Panama-based offshore companies. Caruana Galizia also said that Malta’s financial intelligence authorities and police were aware of the dealings.
Caruana Galizia was killed in October 2017 when her car exploded. The journalist was known for her investigations into various cases of corruption in Malta based on the so-called Panama Papers, thousands of leaked files from Panama-based law firm Mossack.