Last year, 60 Minutes visited Malta, a tiny nation at the southern edge of Europe that found itself at the center of an international firestorm. In 2017, the country witnessed the brutal car bombing of its most prominent journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, as she drove from her home not far from the country's capital, Valletta. She was known simply as "Daphne," and she'd spent years chronicling corruption at the highest level of Maltese government and society on her widely-read blog, "Running Commentary."
Her murder sparked international outrage, and in the ensuing months, fellow journalists around the world picked up where Daphne had left off. They connected the dots Daphne had started plotting out in her reporting – revealing a web of kickbacks, secret bank accounts and shady contracts that allegedly implicated top government businessmen and officials, including senior advisors to the country's Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat. If the perpetrators of Daphne's murder had hoped to silence her, the plan had clearly backfired.
And yet, in spite of the international outcry and a campaign from Daphne's bereaved family, for more than two years, Malta's investigation into her death seemed all but stalled. Although three low-level criminals were arrested for planting the bomb that took her life, investigators made little progress pinpointing who actually ordered the killing.
Then, late last month; an apparent break in the case: Yorgen Fenech, one of the richest people in Malta and a tycoon at the center of some of the most incendiary corruption allegations, was apprehended as he tried to flee Maltese waters in his luxury yacht. He has since been formally charged with complicity in the bombing, and pleaded not guilty.
Maltese politics has since descended into chaos. Last week, the Prime Minister's chief of staff Keith Schembri – an official whom Daphne reported on extensively and who has been the focal point of corruption accusations in recent years -- resigned after he was questioned by police in connection with her murder, though he has not been charged. Schembri denies any wrongdoing. On Sunday, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat indicated his intention to step down in the New Year. That announcement followed calls for his resignation from Daphne's family, who've long insisted that his administration showed little interest in solving her murder.
For Daphne's family, recent developments are a step forward, if not a relief. "Justice will only be done when everyone who is implicated in Daphne's murder is brought to justice and when everyone implicated in the corruption and crime she exposed is brought to justice too," Daphne's sister, Corinne Vella, tells 60 Minutes. "For investigations to proceed properly investigators should follow the evidence trail all the way to the end and there should be real consequences for everyone implicated in the assassination."