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Car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist in Malta

News Agencies | Updated on: 17 October 2017, 9:40 IST
Daphne Caruana Galizia (Twitter)

A car bomb on 16 October killed the journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation here.

Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, died on 16 October afternoon when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device which blew the vehicle into several pieces and threw the debris into a nearby field, reports The Guardian.

The reporter had filed a complaint to police a fortnight ago after receiving personal threats to her safety, local media said.

She was known for her work as an investigative journalist and revealing controversial sensitive information, including reports and allegations related to the Panama Papers.

A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country's newspapers, Caruana Galizia was recently described by the Politico website as a "one-woman WikiLeaks". Her blogs were a thorn in the side of both the establishment and underworld figures that hold sway in Europe's smallest member state.

Her most recent revelations pointed the finger at Malta's Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan, reports The Guardian.

No group or individual has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack.

In a statement, Muscat condemned the "barbaric attack", saying he had asked police to reach out to other countries' security services for help identifying the perpetrators.

"Everyone knows Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine," said Muscat at a hastily convened press conference, "both politically and personally, but nobody can justify this barbaric act in any way".

In a tweet, Muscat said, "This is a spiteful attack on a citizen and freedom of expression. I will not rest until justice is done. The country deserves justice."

Muscat announced later in parliament that FBI officers were on their way to Malta to assist with the investigation, following his request for outside help from the US government.

The Nationalist party leader, Adrian Delia - himself the subject of negative stories by Caruana Galizia - claimed the killing was linked to her reporting.

The Panama Papers are 11.5 million leaked documents that detail financial and attorney-client information for more than 214,488 offshore entities. The documents, some dating back to the 1970s, were created by, and taken from, Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca, and were leaked in 2015 by an anonymous source.

The revelations by the Panama Papers have shaken politics of many countries.

In a case related with the Panama Papers, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had to step down in July after the Supreme Court disqualified him. 


First published: 17 October 2017, 9:40 IST