A Maltese journalist who exposed the links of her small island nation with the so-called Panama Papers died today in a car bomb attack while driving near her home, Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat reported.
Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, had left her home in Mosta, a town on the outskirts of the Mediterranean island capital, Valletta, when the explosive device was activated, causing the vehicle to fly over a wall and fall into a field.
Muscat said the death was the result of a “barbaric attack” that also constituted an assault on freedom of expression.
This is a spiteful attack on a citizen and freedom of expression. I will not rest until justice is done. The country deserves justice -JM
— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) October 16, 2017
The premier described the murdered journalist as “one of my toughest criticisms, politically and personally,” in denouncing the attack as an act of “unacceptable” violence.
“I will not rest until justice is done. The country deserves justice,” Muscat wrote in a Twitter message.
Caruana Galizia was recently recognized by the portal and the American newspaper Politico as one of the 28 European personalities who were “shaking and shaking” Europe with its revelations.
The reporter had revealed that Muscat’s wife, Michelle, as well as her energy minister and chief of staff, had offshore companies in Panama, scouring the Panama Papers.
With this name, there was a leak to thousands of confidential documents of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which exposed, last year, the identities of the rich and powerful, including political leaders, with accounts or offshore companies in Panama.
In addition to studying the local connection of the Panama Papers, the journalist published last May an investigation called “Malta Papers”, which revealed that Malta had become a tax haven for large companies and private fortunes within the European Union ( EU).
Maltese opposition leader Adrian Delia described Caruana Galizia’s death as “political crime,” the BBC reported.
Caruana Galizia had been sued for libel and slander for several articles she had written on her blog Comment que es Corre, and had filed a police report several days ago warning that she had received death threats.
Parliament’s afternoon session was suspended when word of his death was known, except for a series of reports to the deputies that were presented by Muscat and Delia.
Muscat took his second term last June after an election that he decided to advance to ratify his government after the Panama Papers revealed that his wife had an offshore company. Both Muscat and his wife denied committing any crime.
The murder also generated reactions in Europe.
The European People’s Party (EPP) president, Joseph Daul, called the incident “horrible crime” and called for an “immediate” investigation to clarify the cause of his car explosion.
“After such a horrible crime, we asked the competent authorities to initiate an immediate investigation to shed light on this act of indescribable violence and bring those responsible to justice,” Daul said in a statement quoted by the EFE news agency.
The French politician offered his condolences to the journalist’s family and loved ones and said it was “a very sad day for Malta and for the free world, which has lost a champion of democracy and freedom of expression.”
The explosion occurred around 15 local time a few meters from his house for causes that are still being investigated and was one of his children, who were in his home, who heard the explosion and warned of what had happened, police said.
Police said the explosion was extremely strong and the vehicle, a Peugeot 108, was torn apart and scattered throughout the area.
At the scene of the incident, members of the police, firefighters, emergency and forensic teams moved in to search the streets to determine what had happened.
With information from the Télam, DPA and AFP agencies