Friday 27 April 2018

Journalist who exposed corruption assassinated with bomb in Malta

Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Photo: REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Photo: REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

Stephen Calleja

A leading Maltese investigative journalist who exposed the island's links to offshore tax havens through the leaked Panama Papers has been assassinated with a bomb planted in her car.

Daphne Caruana Galizia (53) had just driven away from her home in Mosta, a large town on Malta's main island, when the bomb went off, sending the vehicle's wreckage spiralling over a wall and into a field.

Ms Caruana Galizia's death resulted from a "barbaric attack" that also amounted to an assault on freedom of expression, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said. He described her as "one of my harshest critics, on a political and personal level" as he denounced her slaying.

One of the topics the veteran reporter examined was what the documents from the 2016 leak said about Malta. She wrote that Mr Muscat's wife, the country's energy minister and the government's chief-of-staff had offshore holdings in Panama to receive money from Azerbaijan.

Ms Caruana Galizia filed a police report two weeks ago saying she was receiving threats. The slain journalist had been a regular columnist for 'The Malta Independent', writing twice-weekly for the newspaper since 1996. She also wrote a blog called "Running Commentary".

A half-hour before she was killed she posted to her web site an item about a libel claim the prime minister's chief of staff had brought against a former opposition member over comments the latter made about corruption.

Forensic experts examine the scene of the powerful car bomb that killed investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija, Malta. Photo: REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Forensic experts examine the scene of the powerful car bomb that killed investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija, Malta. Photo: REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

Ms Caruana Galizia herself had been sued for libel over articles she wrote for her blog. Opposition leader Adrian Delia sued her over stories linking him to a prostitution racket in London. Economy minister Chris Cardona claimed libel when she wrote that he visited a brothel while in Germany on government business.

Caruana Galizia is survived by her husband and three sons.

The World Editors Forum and WAN-IFRA have condemned the killing.

"We condemn this shocking attack, which targeted not just one of our bravest and brightest but also our very mission as truth seekers," said David Callaway, president of the World Editors Forum.

Irish Independent

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