Only four months after the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, another journalist has been killed in Europe, this time in Slovakia. Ján Kuciak and his girlfriend were shot dead at their home today, and Slovakia’s police commissioner has already said the murder was “most likely related to his investigative work”, which often revolved around alleged tax fraud involving Slovakian businessmen.
Caruana Galizia’s sons have now urged the European Union to use their mother’s and Kuciak’s murders as a wake-up call to take decisive action against corruption.
“My family warned the European Commission that with my mother’s assassination, Malta had set a new standard of permissible behaviour within the EU and that others would soon die if decisive action isn’t taken,” Andrew Caruana Galizia said. “Jan Kuciak could have been saved.”
My family warned @EU_Commission that with my mother #DaphneCaruanaGalizia‘s assassination Malta had set a new standard of permissible behaviour within the EU and that others would soon die if decisive action isn’t taken. #JanKuciak could have been saved. https://t.co/nbqrAUMgJJ
— Andrew Caruana Galizia (@acaruanagalizia) February 26, 2018
“Today Europe woke up to the news of a murder that reminds us, for the second time in a couple of months, that we haven’t crawled out on all fours from barbarism,” Matthew Caruana Galizia said. “We’ve learned to put a tax on plastic bags, make vegan cheese and put double-glazed windows on all our houses. But when we have to decide seriously the question of whether corrupt politicians and the racketeers who corrupt them should be prosecuted or protected, we are helpless to find a way other than to allow the murder of those calling for the former.
“If the thunderclap of the car bomb that killed my mother on 16 October wasn’t enough draw the attention of our capitals to the corruption and rule of law crisis that is strangling the periphery states of Europe, then add to that the sound of a gun going off and the thud of two bodies as they hit the ground.”
In a tweet, the eldest Caruana Galizia also pointed out that Kuciak had received threats last year from Slovakian businessman Marian Kočner, who he had investigated for corruption, but the police failed to respond.
“It was the same for Daphne Caruana Galizia. Systemic rule of law failures lead to this,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Maltese connection to Marian Kočner has been unearthed. In 2014, MaltaToday reported that an unidentified Maltese bank paid Kočner €4 million, which Slovak authorities later linked to alleged bribes paid to Slovak politicians.