Major developments have been made in the case of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s investigation, but it was a very early call by the head of the Maltese anti-terrorism branch that set the ball rolling.
Superintendent George Cremona testified yesterday that he had started contacting foreign experts, including the FBI, at around 4:30pm on 16th October 2017, around an hour and a half after the journalist was murdered in a car bomb outside her home.
He presented the public inquiry looking into Caruana Galizia’s murder with a letter he sent the US ambassador to Malta and correspondence with his counterpart in Rome.
Investigations are being spearheaded by the homicide squad, not the anti-terror branch, but Cremona said he contacted foreign experts on his own initiative.
It was only afterwards that he informed then police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar and deputy police commissioner Silvio Valletta.
This testimony confirmed what Lovin Malta revealed back in March.
The FBI had assisted the Maltese police in the early stages of the investigation, using cell tower triangulation to trace the burner phones used in the assassination and eventually tracing them to suspected hitmen George and Alfred Degiorgio and Vince Muscat.
Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has described the request to the FBI as “the most crucial moment” in the investigation and said the suspected hitmen would still be at large without their aid.
After arresting the hitmen, police investigations led them to Melvin Theuma who, after being granted a pardon, named businessman Yorgen Fenech as the mastermind behind the murder.
Fenech has since implicated Keith Schembri, Muscat’s former chief of staff.
Schembri has claimed in court that it was his idea to bring in the FBI and that he told Muscat that he will speak to the US Embassy around 20-25 minutes after Caruana Galizia was killed.
However, Lawrence Cutajar said earlier this year that it was actually someone within the police force who suggested bringing in the FBI.