Carthy condemns assassination of Panama Papers journalist in Malta
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has condemned the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia by a car bomb in Malta last might and called for an independent investigation into her murder. MEPs from the European Parliament's Panama Papers inquiry held meetings with Ms Caruana Galizia in Valletta in February this year during a fact-finding mission to Malta.
Carthy, a member of the Panama Papers inquiry committee, said: "I condemn in the strongest terms the shocking assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. I want to express my condolences to her family. This was not only an attack on one individual, but an attack against freedom of expression and anti-corruption activists everywhere.
"Ms Caruana Galizia had engaged with the European Parliament's inquiry into the Panama Papers and met with MEPs in Valletta in February this year as part of the inquiry's fact-finding mission to Malta. Ms Caruana Galizia's work as an investigative journalist and blogger focused on the links of Malta's political and government figures to offshore shell companies set up by Mossack Fonseca. These figures included Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle Muscat, Minister Konrad Mizzi, and the PM's chief of staff Keith Schembri.
"Daphne and others investigating these links suggested the offshore accounts were set up to hold the proceeds of government corruption.
"Disappointingly, some of the central figures named in the Panama Papers and other tax evasion and money-laundering scandals refused to meet with the parliamentary inquiry committee in February – namely, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri; the Nexia BT accountants who set up the structures named in the Panama Papers; and the former Nationalist Party Minister for Resources and Infrastructure Ninu Zammit, who had incorporated a company in the British Virgin Islands through Mossack Fonseca.
"I welcome the decision by the magistrate appointed to enquire into her murder, Consuelo Scerri Herrera, to stand down this morning. Scerri Herrera had launched judicial proceedings against Caruana Galizia over her articles, prompting Ms Caruana Galizia's family to object to her appointment. It is vital that Ms Caruana Galizia's murder is investigated by a fully independent inquiry. Whether or not she was provided with by police after reporting death threats two weeks ago must also be investigated.
"The European Parliament's Panama Papers inquiry committee will pay tribute to Ms Caruana Galizia this week and will write to her family to express our condolences, and to the Maltese authorities demanding a fully independent investigation into this assassination."