A man murdered in Paceville on Monday was a suspected member of a Romanian organised crime group, Times of Malta has learnt. 

Sources told Times of Malta that the victim, Joseff Rivas, 44, had been identified as a ‘High-Value Target’ by international intelligence services over his suspected involvement in organised crime.   

Malta’s police have been in touch with their counterparts in the UK and Romania over the matter.  

Rivas, who holds both Romanian and UK citizenship, was stabbed with a “sharp object” at around 3.30 pm on Paceville’s Ross Street on Monday. He died soon after at Mater Dei Hospital.  

The police said it appeared Rivas was involved in an altercation with a group of men who fled the scene following the stabbing. 

On Tuesday morning, the police said that three Romanian men aged 31, 32 and 35 were under arrest in connection with the murder.

A life of crime

According to Romanian media reports, Rivas, 44, had been linked to armed robbery, attempted murder, and forming part of an organised crime group over the past two decades.  

In 2015 he was among a group of men arrested in Romania. He was suspected, along with three others, of having broken into a family home, and wielding a firearm, stealing some €100,000

He had reportedly been the subject of international arrest warrants in the past, however, sources in Malta confirmed that he was not the subject of any arrest warrants at the time of his killing in Malta. 

Magistrate Charmaine Galea is leading an inquiry into the murder case. 

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