Caruana Galizia suspect told to give names in past crimes in return for pardon

Police were given alleged middleman’s name but investigators wanted information leading to criminals involved in past hold-ups and car bombs

Vince Muscat il-Kohhu, leaving court after being charged with his part in the 2010 HSBC heist
Vince Muscat il-Kohhu, leaving court after being charged with his part in the 2010 HSBC heist

One of the suspects accused of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, told police, over a year and a half ago, the name of a middleman implicated in the journalist’s murder.

Vincent Muscat ‘il-Kohhu’, 57, gave police the name of the middleman, in a bid to obtain a pardon only after police investigators corroborated the information they had.

But a source close to the investigation insisted with MaltaToday that the name was already known to police, and that Muscat refused to collaborate by offering up information on past hold-ups and gangland murders.

The accused (left to right) Vince Muscat, Alfred Degiorgio and George Degiorgio
The accused (left to right) Vince Muscat, Alfred Degiorgio and George Degiorgio

The information Muscat offered was not presented to the Attorney General, but taken directly to police investigators.

Yet Muscat did not give police any more information on other cases that might be connected to the deaths by car bombs in Malta – 19 in the last 10 years alone – or cases such as the 2010 HSBC heist, in which Muscat is accused for his part in the robbery.

Muscat had been out on bail since November 2010 before his arrest in December 2017. In June 2018 he was due to stand trial for his role in the HSBC heist, but Muscat claimed his right to a fair hearing would be breached due to the negative pre-trial publicity on his alleged involvement in the Caruana Galizia murder.

Police are becoming even more wary of attempts by Muscat as well as the Degiorgio brothers in their bids to file rafts of constitutional cases, which could breed a sufficient “pre-trial publicity” with which to attack future jury selections.

MaltaToday’s source said, however, that since Muscat offered up the information, both Maltese and foreign investigators have considered a double-tiered layer of whoever commissioned the Mafia-style execution of Caruana Galizia: a criminal ring, or handler with ties to the material executors of the car bomb that killed the journalist on 16 October, 2017 – and a mastermind, financially or ideologically motivated to commission the murder.

More in National