Mark Anthony Falzon: No, a good boy is not a very good thing to be. Before the Coronavirus pandemic ravaged the world and battered economies, Malta, the smallest country in the European Union, was punching above its weight. But in the past week his revelations prompted new speculation, as he attempted to implicate Schembri as a co-conspirator in the murder plot. The old ramparts, designed to protect Malta from conquest and colonization still stand tall. As Daphne chronicled, Schembri is alleged to have taken kickbacks for brokering Malta's billion-dollar national energy deal; and for taking payoffs to help Russian millionaires snag those coveted Maltese passports. And yet, in spite of the international outcry and a campaign from Daphne's bereaved family, for more than two years, Malta's investigation into her death seemed all but stalled. The car ended up in a field 100 yards away, consumed by a fireball. When they've paid the price for that, then there will be justice for my mother's stories. Jon Wertheim: I want to be clear. Have a spare million? Malta is the 50 least corrupt nation out of 180 countries, according to the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Schembri was questioned and then released by police; he denies all allegations against him. On Sunday, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat indicated his intention to step down in the New Year.
© 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. Schembri denies any wrongdoing. Malta sits as a sun-dappled speck in the Mediterranean, three small islands a short ferry ride from Sicily and not much farther to Libya, the southern gateway to Europe. “Daphne was right!” When I attempted to interview the prime minister, Joseph Muscat, his press secretary told me it could only happen on two conditions: I could not ask about financial corruption or about Caruana Galizia. It's naïve. Caruana Galizia’s courage led to her assassination in October 2017, killed by a car bomb. Jon Wertheim: Let's just call this what it is. Where does this lead? Although three low-level criminals were arrested for planting the bomb that took her life, investigators made little progress pinpointing who actually ordered the killing. They exist either as secretive finance hubs or homes of reactionary forms of rule – or, in Malta’s case, a bit of both. Jon Wertheim: You have no concerns about corruption?
I'm not trying to downplay allegations. It put her alongside Hrant Dink in Turkey and Anna Politkovskaya in Russia – journalists murdered for exposing corruption, only this time near the heart of Europe in a state that continued to pass itself off as a success story. In the past month he has taken it upon himself to become Malta’s police chief and national spokesman. Muscat was reportedly questioned about allegations made by the chief suspect, Yorgen Fenech that they had inappropriately discussed key details of the case while Muscat was still in office. Mark Anthony Falzon: No doubt. As we first reported in 2018, this mere blip in the Mediterranean, was home to one of the EU's fastest-growing economies, priding itself on this surge and its plucky personality. Mark Anthony Falzon: Um, yes, and scrappiness also means flexibility. The 45-year-old Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, is the high priest of this new gospel. And after all that Malta has endured in the past two years, it is hard to imagine a worse fate for the country than to simply revert to the same rotten and discredited two-party system of rule. He's the chief of staff of the prime minister. "Justice will only be done when everyone who is implicated in Daphne's murder is brought to justice and when everyone implicated in the corruption and crime she exposed is brought to justice too," Daphne's sister, Corinne Vella, tells 60 Minutes. Tue 3 Dec 2019 10.52 EST And one of the wealthiest men in Malta with close ties to the Muscat government has been arrested, his business dealings had been a target of Daphne's investigations. Finance Minister Edward Scicluna: All allegations, they are all allegations. © 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. When we met her, Ana Maria Gomes was a Portuguese member of the European Parliament leading an EU inquiry into the rule of law in Malta. To our family. Jon Wertheim: What's your level of concern? But outside forces that once might have invaded the country, now look on with concern, waiting to see whether Malta can confront itself, and move in from the center of the fringes. But since taking over in 2013, the current government has sought to refashion the country as a mecca for emerging and complex technologies like cryptocurrency and Blockchain. So, that's a big reason to have it. If the perpetrators of Daphne's murder had hoped to silence her, the plan had clearly backfired. For the mourners who attended Daphne's funeral, her assassination was symbolic of just how corroded Malta had become. Europeans flock here for a budget tan. The country had witnessed the brutal car bombing of its most prominent journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, as she drove from her home not far from the country's capital, Valletta in 2017. You've gotta stop poking and provoking. • Alexander Clapp is a journalist based in Athens, Available for everyone, funded by readers. Matthew Caruana Galizia: I remember walking up to the driver's side and just seeing fire. Oligarchs, to dock their superyachts.
What's more, there have been multiple inquiries by European authorities, all raising serious questions about corruption in Malta. Ana Maria Gomes: Yes. In 2017, the country witnessed the brutal car bombing of its most prominent journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, as she drove from her home not far from the country's capital, Valletta. Just before 3 p.m., she left the house to go to the bank. For years, her blog, Running Commentary, put these scandals on full display for everyone on the island to see, exposing the underlying rot in Malta’s supposed prosperity. Maltese politics descended into chaos as well: The Prime Minister stepped down amid questions over his relationship to Fenech and a firestorm over his handling of Daphne's murder case. For centuries, Malta played host to pirates and smugglers, operating at what Mark Anthony Falzon calls the "center of the fringes.".
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