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Maltese among those named in Caruana Galizia family’s report to Latvian authorities

Family links journalist’s assassination with murder of Latvian lawyer.

Daphne Caruana Galizia
A banner set up at the protest memorial at the Great Siege Square in Valletta on the one-year anniversary on Daphne Caruana Galizia's assassination. Photo: Pierre Ellul

Maltese citizens are among those named as members of a money-laundering network in a report filed with Latvian authorities by the Caruana Galizia family, and whom the family believes are connected to her assassination, The Shift News can confirm.

In a 31-page Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) filed with Latvia’s Office for the Prevention of Laundering of Proceeds Derived from Criminal Activity on 30 May, the Caruana Galizia family named the members of the money laundering network whom Caruana Galizia investigated.

“We now know, as a result of the Daphne Project’s investigations, that Latvia’s ABLV Bank, like Pilatus Bank in Malta, was a service provider to a money laundering network implicating PEPs in Malta and in Azerbaijan,” the family said in a statement today.

The individuals named in the STR are not known, but the family linked her death with that of Martins Bunkus, a Latvian lawyer who fought for ABLV Bank to be liquidated involuntarily.

“He was also murdered in a well-planned attack, just seven months later. His murder, like Daphne Caruana Galizia’s, remains unsolved”.

They said European regulators ignored Pilatus Bank even when it became clear that Malta’s government was attempting to cover up oversight of the bank as it stashed away hundreds of millions of dollars from Maltese and Azerbaijani PEPs.

Maltese and Latvian regulators allowed Pilatus Bank and ABLV Bank to continue operating even as evidence of serious crimes committed by those institutions was brought to light. This, the family said, showed that the EU’s weakest states are facilitating crime throughout Europe’s internal market.

“The fact that two people attempting to force effective oversight were murdered in well-planned attacks, within less than a year of each other, and that in both cases the people who ordered the murders are still unknown, shows that Europe is experiencing a crime and corruption emergency and it is only a matter of time before someone else is killed”.

Pointing out that Caruana Galizia was the only journalist who investigated Pilatus Bank before her assassination, the family said the Iranian-owned bank in Malta was possibly part of a larger money laundering network for Azerbaijani and Maltese government officials and their associates and family members.

“Daphne Caruana Galizia was left alone to document the crimes facilitated by Pilatus Bank and the subsequent cover-up of those crimes by Malta’s government. She refused to give up or to give in and people in the network she investigated resorted to assassination.”

The STR names members of the money laundering network whom Caruana Galizia investigated and whom the family believes are connected to her subsequent assassination.

They said they hope the report would bring new evidence to light, and help authorities across Europe bring criminals to justice and help authorities prevent more murders by taking action to end impunity for the crimes and criminal networks that Caruana Galizia investigated and exposed.

“As Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family, we are committed to achieving full justice for her and for her investigations. We believe that the only way out of the crime and corruption emergency is to continue forcing accountability and to activate judicial authorities, though the responsibility for achieving this is not ours alone”.

“We also hope that others will recognise that they too are able to force accountability and will be inspired to take the necessary action to end impunity and restore the rule of law”, the family said.

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