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Maltese Prime Minister Set to Resign Imminently Over Journalist’s Murder - Reports

© REUTERS / Yara NardiMaltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who in a press release on Friday morning stated that he would not resign before the end of an investigation into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, is expected to leave his post imminently, according to the Malta Times newspaper.

Muscat is alleged to have travelled to the official residence of the leader of Malta on Friday morning and given President George Vella his notice of intention to step down, the Malta Times newspaper stated on Friday afternoon.

Overnight, Maltese politicians were locked in an hours-long cabinet meeting, in which officials discussed a pardon request by businessman Yorgen Fenech, one of the main suspects in the case. Fenech requested to be pardoned by the Maltese government, in exchange for information on roles played by people close to Muscat in the assassination, the newspaper stated. On Friday afternoon, Fenech was released on bail for a fifth time before appearing in a Valletta court, media reported.

On 26 November, two senior Maltese political figures resigned from their posts over their supposed connections to Fenech. Konrad Mizzi, former tourism minister, and Keith Schembri, the Maltese prime minister office’s ex-chief of staff, were alleged to have received payments to Panama-owned companies by Fenech’s Dubai-based 17 Black firm. Schembri was detained by Maltese police, before being subsequently released.

According to media reports, Caruana Galizia documented 17 Black’s payments to Maltese politicians eight months before her death. She was killed by a car bomb outside her Bidnija home in October 2017. The journalist was known for her investigations into various cases of corruption in Malta based on the so-called Panama Papers, which revealed illegal finance practices of officials and public figures from various countries.

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