The first murky details are emerging about the October assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a journalist in Malta who tied the famous Panama Papers to allegedly corrupt activities of that island’s government.
The 53-year-old blogger was known for her criticism of the government of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, suggesting corrupt ties between his confidantes and official circles in Azerbaijan. She used information culled from the Panama Papers.
Those documents — nearly 12 million of them — were leaked from a Panamanian law firm in 2015.
Some go back four decades, detailing confidential financial information and investments of public officials and wealthy individuals around the world who used offshore entities, some of which were involved in fraud, tax evasion and dodging international economic sanctions.
An international consortium of journalists mined the papers for exposes in numerous countries, including the United States, where the Miami Herald and McClatchy Newspapers Washington Bureau won Pulitzer Prizes for their investigations.
On October 16, a powerful bomb, believed to be TNT, exploded beneath Galizia’s drivers seat, killing her instantly and vaulting her car nearly 50 feet off the road. A newspaper on the island just off Sicily, reported this week the bomb was triggered by a text message transmitted by George Digeorgio from his cabin cruiser offshore.
Malta Today reported Digeorgio acted after receiving a message from his brother Alfred, who placed the explosive early that morning and was monitoring the journalist’s movements. Both men have been arrested and charged along with an alleged accomplice, Vincent Muscat.
The slain journalist’s son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, works for the International Consortium of Journalists behind the leaked Panama Papers and their cascading revelations.
The government has vowed to bring justice in the homicide case. But the journalist’s family has questioned the integrity of an investigation by officials so often targeted by Galizia.