Relatives of the late Daphne Caruana Galizia have claimed the journalist’s assassination was postponed by a few months because Prime Minister Joseph Muscat wanted to call an early election.
Sunday Times of Malta today reported that investigators believe Caruana Galizia’s murder was originally commissioned in early 2017 but that it was initially postponed before the final go-ahead was given in August that same year.
And Caruana Galizia’s relatives, as well as their lawyer, Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi, have said it is no coincidence that a snap election was held in this period.
Indeed, they linked the original commissioning of the murder to a blogpost published by Caruana Galizia in February 2017, in which she revealed the existence of a Dubai company called 17 Black.
The company, which was listed as the target client of the Panama companies owned by Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri, was later revealed to be owned by Yorgen Fenech – CEO of the Tumas Group.
That was early 2017. But Joseph Muscat wanted an election in June.
So they postponed the assassination to October. https://t.co/dAZR3FJ3aR
— Matthew Caruana Galizia (@mcaruanagalizia) October 6, 2019
“Person A ordered my mother to be killed upon publication of her 17 Black story, linking [Tourism Minister] Konrad Mizzi and [the Prime Minister’s chief of staff] Keith Schembri to the company in the UAE,” Caruana Galizia’s son Matthew tweeted. “That was early 2017. But Joseph Muscat wanted an election in June. So they postponed the assassination to October.”
Caruana Galizia’s sister Corinne Vella posted an identical tweet, while her other sister Mandy Mallia referred to a story published by Caruana Galizia in which she dismissed Muscat’s statement that he had called a snap election as a response to her allegation that the Panama company Egrant belonged to his wife.
— Mandy Mallia (@MandyMallia) October 6, 2019
Caruana Galizia had noted that the domain name for www.laqwazmien.com, which was to become the Labour Party’s election campaign slogan, was registered on 7th April, 13 days before she published the Egrant story.
“For the last month I have tried in vain to break through the concrete wall of popular conviction – including the conviction of the European press – that Joseph Muscat called the general election in response to the Egrant Inc story which this website broke on 20 April,” Caruana Galizia wrote. “He did not. And I knew he did not because in early April plans for the general election were already so far advanced that word was leaking out to me from producers of campaign collateral and others who had been commissioned to work on materials necessary for the election itself.”
“At least one month before the Egrant Inc story broke, which means somewhere around the middle of March, Muscat had planned already to call the general election for between 27 May and 17 June. Not only did he decide on the general election in March, but the Labour Party already had its campaign slogan by the first week of April. This is, in fact, how I confirmed beyond doubt that the election date was decided in March and that the brainstorming for a campaign slogan was done and dusted by the beginning of April: www.laqwazmien.com was registered on 7 April.”
“The bottom line is this: you can’t argue with the date of a domain registration for a campaign slogan. It’s incontrovertible: www.laqwazmien.com was registered on 7 April.”
“And this brings me right back to the question I have been asking all along, with no sign of an answer in sight: What drove Muscat to call a general election after just four years in power? We need to know the answer, because whatever it is, it’s crucial.”
“Whatever it is, it’s bad enough to have driven Muscat to take drastic action just two months into Malta’s much-vaunted presidency of the EU Council. They opened with massive fanfare and celebrations in January, something cracked in February, and in March he decided to call a general election.”
“It is now more imperative than ever that we find out what cracked in February – or rather, what news Muscat got in February that told him something would crack hugely in June or July.”
In its report, the Sunday Times of Malta reported that police have not found any evidence linking Caruana Galizia’s murder to politicians or people holding political office, although they have not ruled out a possible connection.
Instead, their suspicion has fallen on a “major businessman” who Caruana Galizia was investigating and two accomplices, one connected with the gambling scene and the other with the smuggling underworld. While the newspaper didn’t name the businessman, it said Caruana Galizia had been investigating his dealings but that the two were never involved in any legal battles or public spats. Moreover, the it said police have yet to interrogate the suspect as they are awaiting rock solid evidence before taking action.
However, quoting sources close to the investigation, Sunday Times said the police are “quite certain by now that Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered because of what she wrote or what she was about to reveal”.