Italian daily La Repubblica has named slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia as its person of the year for 2017.
In an editorial, penned by prominent public intellectual Roberto Saviano – who for the past decade has denounced the nexus between politicians, big business and organised crime – Caruana Galizia is depicted as a journalist who realised that “Malta is morphing into an international hub for money laundering”.
He also refers to her role in exposing the offshore accounts of members of the government, exposing what he described as a “raw nerve” and putting corruption in Malta under the international spotlight. He also refers to her role in forcing the government to call for early elections.
Saviano compares Caruana Galizia to the mythological nymph Daphne, “who loved her freedom so much that she was ready to transform into a laurel tree for it”.
The Italian writer also underlines the rise of a civil society movement in Malta following the assassination.
“Her killers celebrated her death with a bottle of wine, but thousands of people took to the streets to protest to declare that her voice is stronger than ever before.”
After exposing the secrets of the Naples mafia in his book Gomorrah, Saviano has lived under police escort since 2006. In 2008 Neapolitan Police investigations, revealed that a mafia clan was planning to eliminate Saviano and his guards.
Saviano puts Caruana Galizia’s assassination in the post Brexit context when British financial services companies felt the need to set up shop in other EU countries.
“As a tax haven but also a member of the EU and the Commonwealth… Malta proved to be the ideal new location.”
For the past years Saviano has focused his investigations on the infiltration of money derived from organised crime in to the ‘legitimate’ economy through the financial services industry in financial centres such as London.