Maltese journalist who led Panama Papers corruption investigation killed in car blast

17/10/2017

The 53-year-old was killed when the car she was driving exploded near her home in Bidnija, near Mosta in northern Malta, the Times of Malta reports.

The explosion took place at around 3pm local time according to Malta’s police force.

Caruana Galizia ran the hugely popular ‘Running Commentary’ blog, which had a track record of highlighting scandals in the Mediterranean country.

One such prominent scandal came about earlier this year, when Caruana Galizia accused Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his wife and members of his government, of owning offshore companies in Panama – all part of the long-running Panama Papers leak.

While Muscat denied the allegations, the scandal did cause him to call a snap general election in June, which his party won, losing only two House of Representatives seats.

In 2016 she reported Konrad Mizzi, the then energy Minister, and Keith Schembri, Mr Muscat’s chief of staff, were named in the Panama Papers leak as owners of off shore companies.

Both men denied wrong doing.

Earlier this year Caruna Galizia claimed documents from a small Malta-based bank showed that Mr Muscat’s wife was the beneficial owner of a company in Panama, and that large sums of money had been moved between the company and bank accounts in Azerbaijan.

The couple denied the accusation.  Mr Muscat called – and won – early elections in June as a vote of confidence to counter Caruana Galizia’s allegations of corruption.

In her last blog post, published just hours before she died, she bemoaned the lack of progress in prosecuting alleged corruption cases.

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“There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate,” she wrote in the last line.