Security Service zoomed in early on one of the Caruana Galizia murder suspects

A report has revealed that the Malta Security Service had early on in the investigation zoomed in on one of Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder suspects 

The 13-page report contains a brief section dedicated to the Caruana Galizia murder that happened on 16 October 2017
The 13-page report contains a brief section dedicated to the Caruana Galizia murder that happened on 16 October 2017

The Security Service had early on in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation zoomed in on a suspect already known to it for other criminal acts.

The information comes from the annual report covering the work done by the Security Service in 2017, which was tabled in Parliament by the Prime Minister.

The 13-page report contains a brief section dedicated to the Caruana Galizia murder that happened on 16 October 2017.

The report says that just after the murder, the Security Service had immediately set up a dedicated team of agents with the sole objective of collecting and analysing intelligence on the high-profile case.

“From the initial analysis and first efforts it appeared that a person already known to the Security Service for other criminal acts, could have potentially been involved in the Caruana Galizia case,” the report says.

Further investigations confirmed the information and after a few weeks of monitoring, the secret service identified two other persons who could have been involved in the murder.

Other people, who could have assisted in the murder were also identified.

Coordination with the police and foreign agents who were assisting in the investigation helped investigators piece together the movements of the suspects before and after the murder.

The report does not mention names and is sparse on detail. But it does indicate that the decision to carry out the raid on the potato shed in Marsa was taken in the early hours of 4 December 2017.

A couple of hours later, a joint police, army and security services raid led to the arrest of 10 men, including the three who were eventually charged with planting the bomb and detonating it.

In court, it had emerged that the Security Service had been tapping the phone of one of the murder suspects before Caruana Galizia’s assassination. The tapping formed part of a separate ongoing investigation.

The revelation in court prompted Jason Azzopardi, the lawyer representing the Caruana Galizia family in court, to ask whether the security forces knew of plans to eliminate the journalist but did nothing to stop the assassination.

The Security Service and the police denied the accusation.

The annual report says that the dedicated team of agents focusing on the Caruana Galizia murder is still operational today.

“The team is still working on the case and is committed to follow any information that could lead to other people who were involved in this barbaric act,” the report says.

The rest of the report is a general overview of the work conducted by the Security Service in 2017, which was especially challenging because of Malta’s EU presidency.

The Security Service dedicates a lot of its resources to collect intelligence on drug trafficking operations and the report flags the Malta-Sicily ferry service as a principle point of entry for cannabis.

Instability in Libya is indicated as a worrying factor, especially the impact this has in terms of criminal groups engaged in arms, fuel and people smuggling.

The report says the Security Service has no information of people or groups capable of, or with the intention of carrying out terrorist attacks in Malta. However, the secret service will remain vigilant and observe developments, while cooperating with foreign counterparts in the exchange of information.

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