Tue. Sep 26th, 2023


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Holiday hotspot a ‘Mafia state’ where woman was killed for exposing corruption

3 min read

A holiday hotspot popular with Brits is a "Mafia state", where exposing corruption could see you killed.

Six years on from the death of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta still has a criminal underworld, according to campaigner Manuel Delia.

He told the BBC’s Simon Reeve that the Mediterranean island’s low-tax economy is used by organised crime groups to launder money.

“Take our online gaming industry,” he said, “the Italian Mafia was using it to launder their money.”

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Speaking in new documentary series Mediterranean with Simon Reeve, Manuel added: “We also make money by selling Maltese passports."

“It’s a Maltese passport but it’s also a European Union passport so we’re basically selling European citizenship for a million Euros a pop.”

He claimed that wealthy individuals pretend to live in Malta in order to gain a foothold in the EU. One tiny rented garage, he said, was technically the “home” of four Russian billionaires.

Some people have described Malta as a “Mafia state.”

And shining a light on this corruption can be a dangerous business.

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Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese journalist whose investigations focused on corruption, was described as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”.

She was murdered by a ruthless hitman who claimed he had been paid to silence her by government ministers.

Manuel said that the killer was sitting on a yacht in the Mediterranean, and when he got a message telling him that Daphne was in her car, he remotely triggered the detonator.

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“Daphne’s car transformed into a ball of fire, with her inside,” he said. “It was no longer a car… now it’s just a moving flame.”

The blazing car rolled a few yards into a field, where even today there’s a scorched patch of soil where nothing will grow.

He continued: “Her son, he hears the explosion. Barefooted he runs to get here, but he gets here and the car is just billowing flames… he knows there is nothing he can do.”

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On the day she died, she wrote: “There are crooks everywhere you look now… the situation is desperate …”

One of the men awaiting trial for her murder, George Degiorgio, says he would have asked for bigger payment for murder had he known how important his victim was.

“If I knew, I would have gone for €10m. Not €150,000,” he said, promising to name the people that paid him to carry out the hit.

But Daphne’s son Matthew responded: “George Degiorgio’s own words show he is a stone-cold killer undeserving of any reprieve."

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