Two brothers, Alfred and George Degiorgio, are the main suspects in the investigation into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The Degiorgio brothers are among a group of 10 men arrested during a large-scale police operation on Monday morning.
A raid at Lighters Wharf in Marsa saw a number of suspects thrown to the ground before being arrested. The area was sealed off by military and police personnel at around 8am.
Sources said the criminal gang that the Degiorgios formed part of had used a building at the wharf to discuss and plan criminal activity.
Helicopters, sniffer dogs and an AFM patrol boat were all spotted at the scene.
George Degiorgio, also known as Iċ-Ċiniz, and his brother Alfred, known as Il-Fulu, both have a criminal history.
Alfred’s finger prints were found on items linked to a robbery from a Group 4 cash van in 2000, while his brother George has been charged in court in the past with possession of unlicensed weapons, drugs and tools that investigators believe were meant to be used to pick locks.
Statement in parliament - Prime Minister signed warrants for Security Service operations
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said in parliament this evening that he had decided to hold a press conference immediately the arrests in the Caruana Galizia murder investigation were made because the operation was too big to keep under wraps.
The police have 48 hours within which to interrogate the suspects before deciding whether or not to arraign them, and Dr Muscat said he looked forward to more information being disclosed, without undermining the case.
Dr Muscat gave a three-minute statement to the House in which he repeated comments he made at a press conference this morning.
Replying to questions by Opposition leader Adrian Delia, Dr Muscat said that after consulting the attorney general, he had sought to reach a balance between keeping silent so as not to prejudice the case, and also addressing the people’s right to know, while respecting the presumption of innocence.
Total silence would have given rise to unhelpful speculation and accusations that the government was withholding information.
Replying to questions, Dr Muscat said the police commissioner remained involved in the case as police chief, and the police would be able to make their own statements once the interrogations were over and decisions were taken on arraignments.
Asked if any of the arrested persons had been previously questioned about the case, soon after it happened, Dr Muscat said the police had to be careful not to alert anyone before they had evidence in hand, so as not to give them the opportunity to cover their tracks.
Asked about the manner how the Caruana Galizia family was informed of the arrests, Dr Muscat said he did not wish to get involved in controversy with the family. He was informed that the police had given advance notice to the inquiring magistrate, and the idea was that the magistrate would inform the family at the time he felt appropriate.