Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has said a suspect in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia will not be granted immunity to reveal what he knows about the case.
Businessman Yorgen Fenech had requested a presidential pardon in exchange for information.
Caruana Galizia, a prominent anti-corruption blogger, was killed by a car bomb in 2017.
Mr Muscat is under increasing pressure to resign over the case.
The prime minister has previously said he will only step down when those who ordered the killing are identified.
However, the Times of Malta reported on Friday that Mr Muscat was preparing to announce his resignation “immediately” amid the worsening political crisis.
Mr Muscat’s Labour Party has cancelled an event on Sunday at which the prime minister was due to speak.
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Last week Mr Fenech was arrested in a dramatic raid on his yacht. He received hospital treatment after his arrest and has been given police bail.
Mr Fenech was identified last year as being the owner of a mysterious Dubai-registered company, 17 Black, listed in the Panama Papers – a massive leak of documents from an offshore law firm in 2016.
Caruana Galizia wrote about 17 Black eight months before her death, alleging it had links to senior government figures.
What did the cabinet decide overnight?
Mr Muscat called an emergency cabinet meeting to decide whether to grant Mr Fenech’s request.
The prime minister said it was the most appropriate course as Mr Fenech had made allegations against the PM’s former chief of staff, Keith Schembri – who resigned last week and was arrested on Tuesday.
“I left the final decision with my colleagues, who decided that it’s not fitting to grant a pardon,” Mr Muscat announced at a press conference, flanked by ministers.
He stressed that his cabinet had followed the advice of the chief of police and the attorney general.
Police confirmed on Thursday that Mr Schembri had been released and was no longer of interest to investigators.