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Who Ordered The Killing Of Maltese Journalist Who Linked Ivanka Trump To Russian Money Launderers?

Last year, several media outlets, including Political Dig, did an in-depth report about Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Maltese journalist who was killed in a car bomb in October 2017 after exposing a massive web of corruption through the “Panama Papers,” including a revelation that Ivanka Trump helped her father’s Panama hotel venture with the help of an alleged international fraudster with ties to Russian money launderers.

Caruana Galizia was an investigative reporter, a towering, intense mother of three, digging up dirt on the most powerful figures, and her blog would get hundreds of thousands of views per day.

The day she died, she was going to the bank, says her son, Matthew Caruana Galizia.

A government minister had gotten the courts to freeze her bank accounts. She intended to fight for access to her funds.

“If someone tried to shut her up, if someone tried to stop her, she’d just fight back even harder,” the son says. “That was her spirit.”

On Oct. 16, 2017, a warm day in Bidnija, the northern village where she lived with her lawyer husband in their garden-encircled home, she typed her blog’s final words: “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate.”

Her son heard her drive away in her gray Peugeot 108. Then he heard an explosion.

“I knew it was a car bomb straight away,” he says.

He ran down the rocky village road barefoot, frantically calling his mother’s cellphone. He heard a car horn blaring and smelled burning fuel and spotted his mother’s car ablaze in a field of wildflowers. He saw pieces of flesh on the road.

She was 53 years old.

“I always worried about her,” said her son, a 32-year-old investigative journalist and software engineer based in London. “Over the years, our front door was set on fire, our dog’s throat was cut. She got death threats. She was called a witch, an enemy of Malta.”

“They wanted to shut her up”

Caruana Galicia asked uncomfortable questions about organized crime. She dug into money laundering and bank fraud allegations, and combed through the leaked law firm records known as the Panama Papers and found offshore wealth tied to the Maltese prime minister and President Donald Trump’s inner circle.

“They wanted to shut her up,” says her 52-year-old sister Corinne Vella. “She obviously spoke truth to power. That was threatening to people in power.”

Three men were arrested, accused of planting the car bomb and detonating it. They have been charged with Caruana Galizia’s murder and are awaiting trial.

But there’s no word on who ordered the assassination.

“Let’s just say I actually found my sister’s murderer,” she says. “What am I supposed to do? Who can I turn to? There are so many people who are prevented from doing their jobs or deliberately not doing them or worse. That’s exactly why the country is a mess.”

The EU is pressing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to solve the case.

Ana Gomes, a Portuguese member of the European Parliament, is growing impatient with Malta’s government. She has led delegations here to push for answers on the murder investigation.

“We are very concerned that the investigation will die down, so to say,” she told NPR.

Gomes, a former ambassador with an activist’s temperament, wonders aloud if the government is interfering with the investigation. She had asked Muscat why he hadn’t removed a top aide and government minister implicated in the Panama Papers.

Gomes says the EU seems more interested in solving Caruana Galizia’s murder than the Maltese government.

RELATED: Assassins Kill ‘Panama Papers’ Journalist Who Linked Ivanka Trump To Russian Money Launderers.

Who killed Daphne?

A collective of international journalists has come together to continue Caruana Galizia’s investigations into corruption. The Daphne Project, as it’s called, is also investigating her death. There have already been long reports published in The New York Times, Reuters and The Guardian, as well as Italian and French newspapers.

Caruana Galizia’s supporters believe she was trying to root out that rot. They don’t want her to be forgotten.

On the 16th of every month, they mark the day of her murder with a vigil outside the courthouse in Malta’s capital Valletta.

Photographer Pippa Zammit-Cutajar never misses one. “I don’t feel I am part of the other Malta, the one that allowed this to happen,” she said at last month’s vigil.

Matthew Caruana Galizia was also there, the first time he’d returned to Malta since his mother’s funeral.

He joined the crowd singing the national anthem in her honor. They held up dozens of signs asking: Who killed Daphne?

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