November 21, 2019 - 12:17 AMT
Police probing journalist's murder arrest businessman in Malta

A prominent Maltese businessman has been arrested onboard his yacht as it was heading out to sea, in an operation linked to the murder of the Maltese anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Armed forces personnel boarded a vessel at about 5.30am on Wednesday, November 20 and detained Yorgen Fenech.

The arrest came less than 24 hours after Malta’s prime minister offered immunity from prosecution to an alleged middleman in exchange for information about those who ordered the murder of the journalist two years ago, The Guardian reports.

One of the last investigations on which Caruana Galizia was working at the time of her death was a massive leak of data from Fenech’s business.

Police did not officially comment on the operation, but a high-ranking police source told AFP: “We have arrested a man as part of our investigations into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.” Fenech was “a person of interest” in the case, the source added.

Officers have 48 hours in which to bring charges against Fenech.

Galizia, whose work exposed corruption among Malta’s political and business elite, was killed by a car bomb in October 2017. Within a few weeks three men accused of planting the explosive device were arrested and are awaiting trial, but those who masterminded the murder are yet to be identified.

Concerns about the time it has taken to bring her killers to book have led to questions about the rule of law in Europe’s smallest member state. Malta’s opposition leader responded with fresh calls for the prime minister’s resignation.

A subsequent investigation by the Daphne Project, a collective of journalists set up to continue Caruana Galizia’s reporting and investigate her death, reported last year that Fenech was the owner of a shell company called 17 Black.