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    Maltese Murder Raises Links with Azerbaijan


The murder of a journalist in Malta in a car bomb attack October 16 has raised questions over the island nation’s prime minister and links to Azerbaijan.

by: Mark Smedley

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Europe, Political, Ministries, Infrastructure, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), News By Country, Azerbaijan, Malta

Maltese Murder Raises Links with Azerbaijan

The murder of an investigative journalist in Malta in a car bomb attack October 16 has raised questions over the island nation’s prime minister and his links to Azerbaijani politicians. Daphne Caruana Galizia led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta.

In recent days she had filed a police report complaining of death threats, according to the US-based Center for Public Integrity, which cited local media reports. The center's CEO John Dunbar condemned the attack as "not only a tragic killing of a courageous journalist but an attack on the profession as a whole. This must not go unpunished."

Earlier this year Caruana Galizia claimed that documents from a small Malta-based bank showed that prime minister Joseph Muscat’s wife was the beneficial owner of a company in Panama, and that large sums of money had been moved between that company and Azerbaijani bank accounts. The couple denied the allegations, but the claims led Muscat to call early elections, which he subsequently won. He called the murder “an attack … on freedom of expression” adding: “I will not rest until justice is done.” A police investigation is underway.

Commercial links between Azerbaijan, which has oil and gas resources, and Malta, which until January this year had no natural gas, have expanded recently.

Electrogas Malta is a three-way consortium of Socar Trading (a subsidiary of Azerbaijani state-owned Socar), Germany’s Siemens, and the privately-owned Maltese joint venture GEM Holdings. Its new LNG terminal received its debut cargo in January 2017 (supplied by Socar) and its new 200 MW gas-fired combined cycle (CCGT) plant opened earlier this year. There is no implication of any links by these companies to any illicit payments.

On October 17, the journalist's son Matthew Caruana Galizia wrote: "A culture of impunity has been allowed to flourish by the government in Malta" on his Facebook page which also made claims against several Maltese politicians and law enforcement officials, accused lawyers of "one vexacious lawsuit after another" against his mother, and said that the EU country had become "a mafia state." His remarks were widely relayed by international media.


Mark Smedley