The Panama papers unfolded: what is known about murder of journalist on Malta?

Residents of Malta are demanding to find the killers of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, one of the authors of the investigation of Panama offshore. Activists, deputies, lawyers, former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and members of the Civil Society Network gathered outside the court in the capital of the Republic of Valletta. Demonstrations are also held in front of the Malta Embassy in London. Russiangate reports what is known about the murder of Galizia as of now.
24.10.2017
Origin source
WHAT HAPPENED?

On October 16, Caruana Galizia left her home in the village of Bidnia, which is in the north of Malta. A few minutes later, the journalist's rented car exploded. The reasons for the explosions are not yet established, but experts suggest that the explosive device was not in the car itself. Investigators do not exclude the version, according to which the bomb was detonated remotely. Local media referring to sources in law enforcement agencies reported that Semtex, a plastic explosive usually used for terrorist attacks, was used to kill the journalist.

CARUANA GALIZIA’S INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

53-year-old Daphne Caruana Galizia was the most famous journalist in Malta. She was engaged in the investigation of corruption cases and kept a blog where she published incriminating articles concerning the officials of Malta. Her most famous publications are related to the so-called Panama Papers – the investigation of offshore schemes of concealment of incomes.

In 2015, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung received documents of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca from an anonymous source. A group of journalists, within the framework of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) project, studied the documents for a year. The results of the investigation were published on April 3, 2016. It talks about the hidden property of politicians and conflicts of interest related to that. The archive contains 11.5 million files of registration and maintenance of offshore companies over the past 40 years. Former and current world leaders, high-ranking officials and celebrities from more than 50 countries were named in the documents.

In the Panama Papers, Galizia found documents related to Maltese politicians. Her publications in the Malta Independent describe the connections of Ministers of the Government of Malta Conrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri and wife of the Prime Minister of Malta Michelle Muscat with businessmen and officials of Azerbaijan. One of the materials says that the company Ergant, owned by Michelle, received more than $ 1 million through offshore payments from companies owned by daughter of Azerbaijani President Leila Aliyeva.

After the publication, deputies of the European Parliament openly called for Muscat’s resignation. Daphne Caruana Galizia also wrote about the sales of Maltese citizenship, which was among the sources of the shadow income of the Maltese officials. “Maltese accountant Brian Tonna, having received € 166 thousand for the sale of three Maltese passports to Russian citizens, immediately paid off € 100 thousand to the head of the administration of the Maltese Prime Minister. Apparently, the Russians, who received the Maltese passports, are the family of Viktor Vashkevich, the former top manager of Transneft, Svyaztransneft (Viktor Ivanovich Vashkevich himself, his wife Irina Borisovna, two sons, Ian Vashkevich and Maxim Vashkevich),” wrote Deputy CEO of Transparency International – Russia Ilya Shumanov wrote on his Facebook page.

Previously, the publication Politico Europe included Caruana Galizia in the list of 28 people who would have the greatest impact on Europe in 2017. ICIJ, to which also the son of the journalist belongs, received the Pulitzer Prize for publishing the Panama Papers.

Half an hour before her death, Galizia wrote in her blog: “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate.”

THE REASONS FOR MURDER

A number of media reports that two weeks ago, Caruana appealed to the police. She wrote a statement in connection with the threats she kept getting. Who threatened the journalist, is still unknown. However, law enforcement officials said that during the past two weeks they had not received information about threats to Galizia.

According to the journalist’s son, Matthew, the “mafia state” is to blame for his mother’s death, and it “stood between the rule of law and those who try to violate it.” He also stated the incompetence of the Maltese police and the impunity of the country's government.

The head of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, in turn, said that Caruana was killed because she was looking for truth. He invited the family of the murdered journalist to a session in Strasbourg. Official representative of the European Commission Margaritis Skinas said that the incident with the journalist looks like a contract murder.

THE REACTION OF THE AUTHORITIES AND PUBLIC

The Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, called the journalist's murder “a barbaric attack on the freedom of the press”. “Everyone knows that Caruana Galizia has severely criticized me as a politician and as a person. But nothing can justify this barbaric act,” he said after the journalist's death. Immediately after arriving at the EU summit in Brussels, Muscat announced that Malta had requested assistance from the FBI, Scotland Yard and Europol in the investigation.

The US State Department spokesman Heather Nauert noted that Washington quickly responded to the request of the Maltese Prime Minister to assist in the investigation of the crime.

Founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange promised € 20 thousand for information that will help find the perpetrators of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder.

CEO of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova expressed her hope that the authorities of Malta will bring the murderers to justice.

Members of the European Commission, who called Caruana the founder of investigative journalism in Malta, also condemned the murder.

In the French Foreign Ministry, the murder of the journalist was called “a blow to the freedom of the media.” The Ministry's report indicates that France stands for a comprehensive investigation of the crime.

According to Malta Independent, the judge appointed to investigate the murder case asked to be removed, because previously she had been criticized by Daphne Caruana Galizia.

On Wednesday, October 18, Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat delivered a speech to the parliament in which he announced a reward for catching the murderers of the journalist. Caruana's sons Matthew, Andrew and Paul Galicia reported that Muscat offered a million Euros as a reward and wanted them to publicly support his initiative. According to them, the prime minister can get their support only if he resigns.

Crime