By Stephen Grey
LONDON (Reuters) - German police said on Wednesday that relatives of murdered Maltese anti-corruption blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia had given them two of her laptops and three hard drives and these could be transferred to Maltese police investigating her killing.
The Caruana Galizia family declined to comment. They previously warned that the journalist’s sources could be compromised by handing over the laptops to Maltese authorities.
It was not clear why the family believed German involvement would protect sensitive information contained in her laptops.
Caruana Galizia was killed in October last year by a car bomb believed to have been triggered by a mobile phone signal and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been helping Maltese authorities to solve the case.
Widening international involvement in the murder case was revealed in a statement to Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper by Oliver Kuhn, a spokesman for its Federal Prosecutors' Office. He said representatives of Galizia’s family had handed over the laptops and hard drives to German federal police "for distribution to the Maltese authorities”.
Maltese detectives have been trying to obtain the laptops for their investigation into who ordered Caruana Galizia’s killing on Oct. 16 and why. Three local men have been charged with her murder. All deny the accusations.
Kuhn said Maltese legal authorities had been informed that German police were in possession of Caruana Galizia's laptops and hard drives and it was for them to officially request access to or copies of the digital material. No inquiry into the laptops was being carried out in Germany, he said.
A spokesman for the Maltese government had no immediate reaction.
Since Caruana Galizia's murder, Malta has come under pressure from European Union institutions, with an inquiry under way on its banking supervision and calls for investigations into the Mediterranean island country's rule of law.
(Reporting by Stephen Grey and Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Mark Heinrich)