Journalist leading Panama papers investigation in Malta falls prey to car bomb attack

  • Journalist was killed an hour after she published a libel case from the chief of staff to the prime minister accused of setting up offshore firm
World

VALETTA – Prominent Maltese blogger and journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who played a key role in exposing her country’s links to the shady world of offshore banking was killed in a car bomb attack on Monday.

The 52-year-old whistleblower was driving near her home on the island of Malta around 3 p.m. when her Peugeot car exploded leading to sudden death.

Caruana Galizia’s blog, ‘Running Commentary’, was one the most widely read websites on Malta and led the investigation of corruption allegations stemming from revelations in the so-called Panama Papers leak.

Her reports often centred on a scheme that reportedly saw those close to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat receive money from the ruling family of Azerbaijan.

Interestingly and mysteriously as well, she was killed an hour after she published a libel case from the chief of staff to the prime minister accused of setting up a secret company in Central America.

“There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate,” she wrote in the last line.

PM Joseph Muscat, whom Caruana Galizia accused of wrongdoing earlier this year, denounced the killing.

‘I condemn without reservations this barbaric attack on a person and on the freedom of expression in our country,’ he said in a televised statement.

‘Everyone knows Ms Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine, both politically and personally, as she was for others too’.

Muscat, who denies any wrongdoing after reports that his wife also set up an offshore scheme, promised justice and said that the FBI has been called for help with the investigation.

“I will not rest before justice is done,” he vowed.

Malta Television reported that Caruana Galizia had filed a complaint to the police two weeks ago to say she had received threats but gave no further information.

Meanwhile, Caruana Galizia’s family has requested that the magistrate in charge of the investigation be replaced, the Malta Independent reports.

It said the current magistrate had on a number of occasions been the subject of criticism by Caruana Galizia.