VALLETTA, Malta — Eight suspects have been arrested in the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, officials on the Mediterranean island of Malta announced Monday.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the suspects, all Maltese citizens, were arrested Monday morning, given a “reasonable suspicion” of their involvement in Caruana Galizia’s slaying in a car bomb.
The arrests were the first break in the murder that has drawn widespread outrage and condemnation.
Investigators have 48 hours to question the suspects to decide whether to seek charges, in accordance with Maltese law. Most of those in custody have criminal records, the prime minister added.
Caruana Galizia, whose reporting focused heavily on corruption on the E.U. island nation, was killed when a bomb destroyed her car as she was driving near her home on Oct. 16.
Europol, the European Union’s police agency, sent a team of organized crime experts to help Maltese police investigate the assassination, joining the FBI and Dutch forensic experts.
Just before her death, Caruana Galizia, 53, had posted on her closely followed blog, Running Commentary, that there were “crooks everywhere” in Malta. The island nation has a reputation as a tax haven in the European Union and has attracted companies and money from outside Europe.
The journalist focused her reporting for years on investigating political corruption and scandals, and reported on Maltese mobsters and drug trafficking. She also wrote about Maltese links to the so-called Panama Papers leaks about offshore financial havens.
Caruana Galizia had also accused senior figures in government and opposition of corruption and money laundering. They have all denied the allegations and Galizia was hit with 36 libel suits in the nine months preceding her death.