The masterminds behind the 2017 car-bomb murder of Maltese journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia have been identified according to unnamed police sources quoted by The Sunday Times of Malta.
The report quoted high-ranking officers as saying that a group of "more than two" Maltese nationals had been identified as having ordered her killing.
It did not reveal their names, but the officers leading the murder probe reportedly said that their investigation was at a "very advanced stage."
There was no immediate comment from the police on the press report.
Sources quoted by The Sunday Times of Malta gave no indication of how much longer the investigation could take or if there had been any new arrests in the case.
Caruana Galizia, who died on Oct. 16 last year aged 53, sought to expose scandals from petrol smuggling to money laundering, implicating members of the government and organized crime.
Her blog also launched highly personal attacks on Maltese politicians.
Caruana Galizia's journalist son Matthew last month blasted what he called a "system of impunity" he said was protecting those who ordered her killing. Her murder appalled Europe and raised questions about the rule of law on the Mediterranean island.
Her son, who believes the murder was ordered by powerful figures, said it would "send a terrible lesson if only the people who pressed the button to detonate the bomb ended up in prison."
Three men stand charged with her murder. Brothers Alfred Degiorgio and George Degiorgio as well as Vince Muscat were arrested on Dec. 4 last year and charged with the murder. Their case is still pending.
A court documenting initial evidence against the trio has heard evidence that they allegedly planted a bomb in Caruana Galizia's car and set it off via an SMS message.
The motive behind the murder remains unknown, with the Sunday Times saying the investigators believe the masterminds had different motives and came together to contract the three men accused.
The sources would not give any indication of whether the masterminds came from the criminal, business or political sectors.
Investigators were quoted as saying they were in constant contact with Europol – the EU's law enforcement agency – over the case, and in recent weeks this contact intensified significantly as police got closer to cracking the case.
"We have a large amount of data that requires analyzing and partners like Europol have the necessary experience and expertise to help facilitate this process," a source told the newspaper.
The Caruana Galizia family said Sunday that they were not formally informed by the police that the suspected masterminds had been identified.