Thursday, October 20, 2022


H. whereas the Maltese anti-corruption investigative journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated in a car bomb attack on 16 October 2017; whereas she was the target of harassment and numerous threats in the form of threatening phone calls, letters and text messages, as well as an arson attack on her house; whereas the self-confessed hit man testified in court on 16 March 2021 that two years before Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered there was a previous and separate plot to assassinate her using an AK-47 rifle;

I. whereas the murder investigations led by the Maltese authorities and assisted by Europol have led to the identification, arraignment and ongoing trial of several suspects and one of the potential masterminds behind the murder, the owner of the Dubai-based company 17 Black Ltd. and former member of the Board of Directors of ElectroGas Malta Ltd., responsible for generating the majority of Malta’s electricity, who was arrested on 20 November 2019 in an apparent attempt to escape Malta; whereas the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation was also involved in the investigations;

J. whereas the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was used to conceal transactions allegedly linked to corruption that Daphne Caruana Galizia was exposing at the time of her assassination;

K. whereas the Dubai-based company 17 Black Ltd. was listed as a company from which Panama-based companies owned by the former chief of staff to the former prime minister of Malta and by the former minister for tourism, formerly the minister for energy, were set to receive funds; whereas links between 17 Black Ltd. and numerous public projects in Malta continue to be exposed;

L. whereas the chief of staff to the former prime minister of Malta and the former minister for tourism, formerly the minister for energy, and their families have been designated by the US Department of State due to their involvement in significant corruption and have thus been barred from entering the United States;

M. whereas Pilatus Bank was exposed by Daphne Caruana Galizia as being the bank of choice for suspicious transactions involving Maltese and Azeri politically exposed persons; whereas Malta’s police commissioner publicly declared in August 2020 that charges against those involved in criminal activity at Pilatus Bank were imminent; whereas 26 months later, charges have only been brought against one person and investigations appear to have stalled; whereas those implicated were allowed in and out of the country freely despite arrest warrants having been issued; whereas a former compliance officer at the Malta Gaming Authority was allowed to leave Malta while travelling on holiday with the former prime minister of Malta despite a European arrest warrant being in force against him, and was subsequently apprehended on arrival in Italy;

N. whereas two partners at Mossack-Fonseca-linked firm Nexia BT, now defunct, exposed by Daphne Caruana Galizia and the Panama Papers as having designed the money laundering structures to facilitate corruption, have been charged for only some of the allegations made against them, excluding the ElectroGas scandal;

O. whereas the liquefied natural gas security of supply agreement between ElectroGas Malta Ltd. and the Government of Malta, signed by the former minister for tourism, who was at the time, in 2015, the minister for energy, was kept secret for years and only exposed in September 2022 by the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation and a media outlet; whereas the current attorney general has been criticised for facilitating the signing of this contract without any further approval from cabinet or parliament in her former role as deputy attorney general; whereas at the time of her assassination, Daphne Caruana Galizia was investigating a large cache of internal documents from ElectroGas Malta Ltd.;

P. whereas one of the alleged accomplices and certain recordings exhibited in court proceedings have implicated the former chief of staff to the former prime minister of Malta in the planning and funding of the murder; whereas he was arrested and charged with money laundering, fraud, corruption and forgery on 20 March 2021 in a separate case, which was the subject of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s work, along with several of his business associates;

Q. whereas a public independent inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia was initiated in late 2019 and concluded on 29 July 2021; whereas the board of the public inquiry published a report with a set of conclusions and recommendations on strengthening the rule of law, the respect of press freedom, freedom of expression and the protection of journalists, on legal reform at constitutional level, and on legislative proposals regarding media freedom; whereas the Board also established that ‘whilst there was no evidence that the State as such had any role in the assassination of Mrs Caruana Galizia, (...), the State should bear the responsibility for the assassination by creating a climate of impunity, generated from the highest levels at the core of the administration at Castille[5] and spreading its tentacles to other entities such as regulatory institutions and the Police which led to the collapse of the rule of law’;

R. whereas the Government of Malta has proposed a number of reforms to address some of those recommendations, including draft legislation to strengthen media freedom and a proposal for an anti-SLAPP law; whereas the reforms of the Maltese justice system that started in 2020 have continued to be implemented;

S. whereas the latest Media Pluralism Monitor rated the overall risk to media pluralism in Malta as ‘medium’, but rated the risk for editorial autonomy and political independence as ‘high’;

T. whereas Maltese news outlet The Shift News has been faced with 40 separate legal appeals from public authorities against freedom of information requests concerning public expenditure vis-a-vis the independent media;

U. whereas the judicial reform undertaken by Maltese authorities was mentioned in the 2021 State of the Union speech;

V. Whereas the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval) has acknowledged Malta’s significant progress in the level of compliance with the Financial Action Task Force Standards, deemed Malta to be compliant and removed Malta from the grey list after 12 months;

W. whereas in its mission report following the visit of the LIBE Delegation on the Rule of Law to Malta from 23 to 25 May 2022, the Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group of Parliament’s LIBE Committee expressed concerns over the slow progress in the follow-up to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and the implementation of the recommendations by the public inquiry, among others, while recognising that the judicial proceedings are still ongoing;

1. Pays tribute to Daphne Caruana Galizia five years after her assassination and to her essential work in exposing corruption, organised crime, tax fraud and money laundering, and in holding those involved in such illegal activities accountable; strongly condemns the criminalisation of, attacks on and killings of journalists for doing their job, including the killings of Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová on 21 February 2018, 

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