Caruana Galizia case: Malta ex-corruption investigator fears for life

From BBC - January 8, 2018

A former anti-corruption investigator in Malta has told BBC Newsnight he fears for his life after looking into allegations made by murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Jonathan Ferris is seeking full police protection amid concerns he could be targeted after looking into her claims against top political figures.

Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb near her home on 16 October.

She was known for a blog in which she accused powerful figures of corruption.

Prosecutors are looking into the possibility that her murder was carried out by hitmen on the orders of someone angered by her reporting.

The Maltese government has vowed to bring her killers to justice and offered a 1m (890,000; $1.2m) reward for information.

Why is Ferris frightened?

One of the investigations Caruana Galizia was working on at the time of her death centred on allegations against the Maltese prime minister's chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and a senior minister called Konrad Mizzi.

Caruana Galizia said they were both financial beneficiaries of secretive "shell" companies registered in Panama.

Mr Mizzi and Mr Schembri were named in the Panama Papers, a massive data leak from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca in 2015. Both deny any wrongdoing and say their companies were never used.

Mr Ferris says he was looking into the case last year while working at the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), Malta's anti-money laundering agency.

But he was sacked in June from the FIAU because, he believes, his work threatened to uncover sensitive secrets.

"We believe there was political interference," he told the BBC's Newsnight programme.

The FIAU has denied this. The anti-money laundering agency told the BBC that Mr Ferris's dismissal was based "solely on an objective and comprehensive performance assessment".

But Mr Ferris has now threatened to reveal information he discovered - "should something happen to me".

"Following 16 October, and what happened to Daphne Caruana Galizia, I divided my work and my information into six different envelopes with specific notes," he said.

"They are distributed to six members of family and close friends, and should something happen to me abruptly - say I am killed - all that information will go public at once."

Scared enough to carry a gun

By John Sweeney, BBC Newsnight

What else was Caruana Galizia investigating?

Who killed her?


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