Matthew Caruana Galizia, the son of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, has been sued for libel after tweeting that a Maltese company service provider was linked to the murder of Slovakian journalist Ján Kuciak.
Christian Ellul, director of the Ellul & Schranz Group, used to be married to the daughter of Slovak businessman Marian Kočner, who has been charged with masterminding the murder of Kuciak and his girlfriend. Kočner had also used the firm’s services to set up a Maltese holding company, which was liquidated in 2016.
“Chief suspect in the murder of Ján Kuciak, Marian Kočner, used Malta for money laundering and tax evasion,” Caruana Galizia tweeted last year. “His daughter is married to his Maltese lawyer, Christian Ellul, of Ellul & Schranz Group, a sort of mini-Mossack Fonseca. It is corruption which threatens journalism in Europe.”
Mossack Fonseca is the Panamanian law firm which was forced to shut down in the wake of the Panama Papers.
Caruana Galizia also claimed that Kuciak had been investigating tax fraud by Kočner and the Maltese firm but that nothing was done about it.
Ellul, fellow firm director Karl Schranz and the firm itself filed three separate libel suits against Caruana Galizia, with the firm also filing a fourth one against The Shift News editor Caroline Muscat, whose news portal followed up on the tweets.
During the first hearing of the libel suits this morning, magistrate Rachel Montebello gave the defendants 15 days to officially reply to the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs are being represented by lawyers Joe Giglio and Sarah Mifsud, while lawyer Andrew Borg Cardona is defending Muscat.
Cover photo: Left: Matthew Caruana Galiza with his late mother Daphne, Right: Marian Kočner (Photo: TASR)