By MIKE CORDER
VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — Europol, the European Union’s police agency, has sent a team of organized crime experts to help Maltese police investigate the assassination of a prominent investigative journalist, a spokesman said Friday.
Daphne Caruana Galizia died Oct. 16 when a bomb shattered her car as she was driving close to her rural home in the Maltese town of Mosta. The slaying sparked outrage in Malta, where she was well known as a dogged crusader against corruption.
Europol spokesman Jan Op Gen Oorth told The Associated Press that a team of three analysts has access to Europol’s databases on organized crime, drugs, money laundering and other major criminal threats.
“They are working directly with the investigation team established by Malta police and their task is to support the investigation wherever it may lead,” Op Gen Oorth said.
The FBI and Dutch forensic experts also have helped local police as they investigate a slaying that was widely denounced as an attack on free speech. So far authorities have not identified any suspects or a motive.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, a frequent target of Caruana Galizia’s writing, vowed last week that no stone will be left unturned in the investigation. Home Minister Michael Farrugia said that the police force had been given a “blank check to do whatever it takes” to solve the crime.
Carauna Galizia’s family however have called for Muscat to resign, saying in a Facebook post last week: “A government and a police force that failed our mother in life will also fail her in death. The people who for as long as we can remember sought to silence our mother cannot now be the ones to deliver justice.”
Investigators have been looking at similarities with other car bombings in Malta over the last two years — six in all, including Caruana Galizia’s. None have been solved.
Caruana Galizia’s stories in the past had covered issues including Malta’s reputation as a tax haven, its cozy links with nearby lawless Libya and offshore holdings of government officials uncovered by the Panama Papers leak.