The son of the journalist investigating the Panama Papers who was killed by a car bomb in Malta said on Tuesday that his mother was targeted for her work.
“My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it, like many strong journalists,” Matthew Caruana Galizia wrote on his Facebook page, first reported by CNN.
Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, was killed on Monday outside of Malta’s capital, Valetta.
Galizia had been leading the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta, according to The Guardian. She was described by Politico as a “one-woman WikiLeaks” who was “shaping, shaking and stirring” Europe with her reports.
He also described finding his mother’s remains after the explosion.
“I am never going to forget, running around the inferno in the field, trying to figure out a way to open the door, the horn of the car still blaring, screaming at two policemen who turned up with a single fire extinguisher to use it,” he wrote.
“They stared at me. ‘I’m sorry, there is nothing we can do’, one of them said. I looked down and there were my mother’s body parts all around me. I realised they were right, it was hopeless. ‘Who is in the car?’, they asked me. ‘My mother is in the car. She is dead. She is dead because of your incompetence,'” he wrote.
“This is what war looks like, and you need to know,” he wrote. “We are a people at war against the state and organised crime, which have become indistinguishable.”
Daphne Caruana Galizia’s blog sometimes got 400,000 readers a day — more than all of Malta’s newspapers combined. She had recently linked Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and his wife to payments from the ruling family of Azerbaijan that were hidden in secret offshore bank accounts.
“In March last year, Al Sahra FZCO — a company incorporated in Dubai’s free zone — made a single payment transaction of US$1.017 million to Egrant Inc, a company incorporated in Panama in 2013,” Galizia wrote in April.
The “daughter of Ilham Aliyev, ruler of Azerbaijan, [is] the ultimate beneficial owner of [Al Sahra FZCO]” Galizia added, and shares of Egrant Inc are owned by Muscat’s wife.
Al Sahra FZCO is an oil and gas company, and Azerbaijan’s national oil company recently became a shareholder in Malta’s new power plant.
Muscat said on Monday that Galizia’s death resulted from a “barbaric attack” that was also an assault on freedom of expression.
“While that clown of a Prime Minister was making statements to parliament about a journalist he spent over a decade demonising and harassing,” Galizia’s son wrote, “one of the police sergeants who is supposed to be investigating her murder, Ramon Mifsud, posted on Facebook, ‘Everyone gets what they deserve, cow dung! Feeling happy :).'”
Her son accused Muscat of leading a government in which impunity flourished. “First he filled his office with crooks, then he filled the police with crooks and imbeciles, then he filled the courts with crooks and incompetents. If the institutions were already working, there would be no assassination to investigate – and my brothers and I would still have a mother.”
“Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri, Chris Cardona, Konrad Mizzi, the Attorney General and the long list of police commissioners who took no action: you are complicit. You are responsible for this,” he wrote.
Schembri is Muscat’s chief of staff, and Cardona and Mizzi are members of parliament.
“There are crooks everywhere you look now,” Galizia wrote on her blog less than an hour before she was killed. “The situation is desperate.”
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