- Jorge DiGiorgio confesses to crimes in an interview from prison
- It is said that others will be implicated in the conspiracy to murder.
- Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in 2017
VALETA, July 5 (Reuters) – The man accused of the car bombing that killed a prominent Maltese journalist has confessed to the crime in an interview with a Reuters reporter and says he will soon join forces with others to deal with it plan his murder. will catch
In his initial comments on the case, Jorge DiGiorgio, from prison, said he would have committed the murder had he known more about Daphne Caruana Galizia – the journalist and two others charged with the murder in 2017. Would have asked for more money. ,
“If I had known that, I would have gone for 10 million. Not 150,000,” he said, referring to the amount in euros he paid for the journalist’s murder.
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“For me it was just a business. Yes. As usual!” He told a Reuters reporter. He later said, “Of course I’m sorry.”
The interview with Degiorgio was conducted while researching the Caruana Galizia case for a podcast entitled Who Killed Daphne?
His admission comes after several attempts by DiGiorgio’s attorneys since 2021 to obtain pardons in exchange for testimony about DiGiorgio’s role in the assassination of Caruana Galizia and other alleged crimes involving prominent figures on the island.
On June 22, the Malta Court of Appeal dismissed DeGiorgio’s remaining murder charges against him and his brother Alfred, who is a co-defendant. This decision has paved the way for the continuation of the process.
The car bomb attack on an investigative journalist and blogger has shaken Europe. Maltese authorities charged DiGiorgio and two others – his brother Alfred and an associate, Vince Muscat – with killing Caruana Galizia in October 2017 at the behest of a top island businessman.
DiGiorgio told Reuters he will plead guilty before any jury trial. “I’ll speak to the judge,” he said. He indicated that he would testify to implicate others in the murder and in a previous unwitting conspiracy to murder the journalist. Her motive, he said, was to seek a reduced sentence for both himself and Alfred and to make sure “we don’t go down alone!”
So far, both DiGiorgio brothers have denied any involvement in the murder. Muscat pleaded guilty to murder in 2020 and was sentenced to at least 15 years in prison in exchange for testifying about the case and some other crimes. Alfred and George DiGiorgio’s attorney, William Cuschieri, did not respond to requests for comment from either brother.
One of the island’s wealthiest businessmen, Jörgen Fenech, was also accused of hiring DiGiorgio and two of his associates to hitchhike in November 2019. Fenech has denied the allegation but has yet to defend himself. In a statement, his lawyer, Gianluca Caruana Cuarón, said Fenech plans to prove in court that “at no point did he want, actively seek or assist in the murder of Caruana Galizia.”
“Mr Fenech firmly contests his innocence and says that an independent and serious investigation, with the evidence available, was able to arrest and catch the real perpetrators behind the murder.”
Fenech was identified as the mastermind by an alleged middleman, taxi driver Melvin Thuma, who evaded prosecution for his role in the case in exchange for his testimony. Thuma said he arranged the murder with the DeGiorgio brothers on behalf of Fenech. He testified that he never revealed the identity of the DiGiorgio gang to Fenech.
In the interview, DiGiorgio said he was willing to testify that two years ago a senior Maltese political figure tried to orchestrate an attack on Caruana Galizia in a separate conspiracy. DiGiorgio also said he would offer to testify about the involvement of two senior former ministers in an armed robbery.
Reuters is not releasing further details of these allegations at this time or naming the people DiGiorgio has accused, all of whom deny involvement in any of the crimes.
Maltese police and prosecutors handling the murder case did not respond to requests for official comment on DiGiorgio’s comments.
William Cuschieri, attorney for Alfred and George DiGiorgio, did not respond to requests for comment on the article.
Caruana Galizia was killed after a series of corruption allegations against key figures in the island’s Labor Party government, including ministers. Her murder raised suspicions that some of the people she was investigating might be involved in planning her death.
Fenech, who is accused of orchestrating the successful 2017 attack, was first identified in November 2018 in Reuters and Times of Malta articles about Caruana Galizia. The report named him the owner of a company called 17 Black, which Caruana Galizia claimed, without providing evidence, was used to bribe politicians. Fenech was also the leader of a controversial power plant project in Malta.
Jorge DiGiorgio and his gang tracked down the journalist in the summer of 2017, according to prosecution evidence presented at multiple preliminary court hearings since 2018. In the early hours of October 16, 2017, prosecutors say the gang planted a bomb under a seat. in his car.
That afternoon, DiGiorgio was reportedly on a yacht in the island’s Grand Harbor when his brother Alfred, who was guarding the home, said Caruana Galizia got into his car and drove him away. Prosecutors told the court that DiGiorgio then sent a text message from the yacht to a mobile device, which detonated the bomb.
After the car exploded, Caruana Galizia’s son Matthew, hearing the explosion, ran out of the family home and searched for his mother’s body. Since then he has been campaigning for justice for his mother. Asked about DiGiorgio’s comments, he told Reuters, “George DiGiorgio’s own words show he’s a stone cold killer who doesn’t deserve any respite.”
Arrested two months after the murder, Jorge DiGiorgio told police nothing and refused to give his name during interrogation. He had remained silent until the Reuters interview, and his lawyers have denied involvement in the murder for four years. He has also filed several legal challenges challenging the evidence against him.
But now he is seeking an agreement with prosecutors to admit the charges and provide new information ahead of the trial.
Alfred DiGiorgio, like his brother, has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges but has not presented his case. He has filed multiple motions for immunity in exchange for testifying what he knows.
Jorge DiGiorgio said that before taking the hit job, he didn’t know much about Caruana Galizia or his family, including the fact that they were ordinary people and not criminals. “It is. Absolutely! I’ve never met her in her life,” he said.
The Degiorgio brothers have submitted multiple bids for an official pardon for their crimes since March 2021. The latest document, filed April 4 by his attorney, William Cuschieri, says, without naming names or details, that DeGiorgios “could testify to the crime of attempted violent robbery and voluntary murder, in which one of the authors was a minister and the other the author.” was. Who is the minister?” According to an official statement, the Maltese government rejected the application on April 24, citing the national interest and the administration of justice.
Malta Prime Minister Robert Abella previously condemned DeGiorgio’s attempts to seek a pardon, calling him “criminals” who wanted to buy his freedom. Degiorgio’s lawyer, Cuschieri, responded that the prime minister violated his right to a fair trial and that the brothers had “obvious knowledge” of the minister’s involvement in the crime, without giving details.
More podcast details
Who Killed Daphne?, written and hosted by Reuters reporter Stephen Gray, is a six-part podcast following Daphne Caruana Galizia’s son Matthew, the fight for justice after his death – and the struggles of journalists. Project to continue Daphne’s work by a team. , produced by global podcast studio Wonderry, will air on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all other podcast platforms starting July 11, or is available now on Wonder+.
((Reporting by Stephen Gray; Additional reporting by Jacob Borg of The Times of Malta; Editing by Janet McBride))
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