Six months ago, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was brutally killed by a car bomb just meters from her home. The investigation into her killing is ongoing, but there is little doubt that she was murdered because of her work. With a brazen, unapologetic and uncompromising style, she denounced corruption, nepotism, clientelism, and all kinds of criminal behaviours in her tiny EU member state.

A group of 45 journalists representing 18 news organisations from 15 countries picked up Daphne’s work after it was abruptly halted by her gruesome death on the doorstep of Europe. For five months they kept digging — pouring over her findings, gathering documents, talking to sources — to try to get to the bottom of the many leads the formidable woman left behind.

The Daphne Project is a unique collaboration coordinated and led by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based organisation established specifically to continue the work of killed, imprisoned, or otherwise incapacitated journalists.

The Investigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI) contributed with its knowledge on mafias and illicit traffics in the Mediterranean area, assigning reporters to dig on the transnational network of criminals that thrive in Malta, on related money laundering as well as on wrongdoing among Malta’s elite.

Forbidden Stories with IRPI, OCCRP, La Repubblica, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Reuters, The Times of Malta, Le Monde, The Guardian, The New York Times, Tages-Anzeiger, Premières Lignes Télévision, Radio France, France 2, Die Zeit, Direkt 36, WDR, NDR are now shining lights onto the stories that killed her.

Malta, a modern smugglers’ hideout

by Cecilia Anesi, Lorenzo Bagnoli and Giulio Rubino | October 11, 2018

Classified documents and Italian police intelligence show dozen major smuggling busts in the last decade run by Maltese citizens and transacted just off Malta’s shores or supported by Maltese shipyards.
A gaming company with alleged Mafia links continued to operate from Malta despite having its licence cancelled by the regulator, the Times of Malta has learnt. The Investigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI), which forms part of the Daphne Project, found that the Gżira-based gaming company, Leaderbet, continued to operate even after its parent company, LB Group, had its licence cancelled in February.

How Maltese online gambling became an ATM for the Italian mafia

by Cecilia Anesi and Matteo Civillini | May 10, 2018

According to sources from the illegal gambling industry, once a month, someone working for the mafia clans would come by and pick up their share of the cash from the Italian betting shop. Most of the money would then be laundered through banks in Italy and elsewhere, while a portion would be sent to Malta to pay middlemen to keep the operation going.

Malta ‘fuelling Libya instability’ by failing to tackle oil smuggling

by Carlo Bonini, Giuliano Foschini, Fabio Tonacci, Giulio Rubino, Cecilia Anesi and Lorenzo Bagnoli | May 9, 2018

Maltese authorities are failing to rein in illegal fuel smuggling, turning the island into a haven for traffickers of oil from Libya. International observers warn illicit practice is costing Libyan authorities nearly $1bn a year.

Death in a smugglers’ paradise

by Cecilia Anesi, Giulio Rubino and Lorenzo Bagnoli | May 3, 2018

This is a story of ambition, greed, and treachery illuminating how the Mediterranean fishing industry has become entwined with a far more profitable business: fuel smuggling. Now Daphne Project reporters reveal how two unlikely business partners — a beloved Maltese footballer and a Libyan militia chief— enlisted help from a man connected to the Sicilian mafia to develop a multi-million euro business.
In a €1 billion deal, Malta agreed to import all liquefied natural gas through SOCAR, Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil company. While SOCAR earns millions as middleman, Maltese taxpayers are losing tens of millions of dollars overpaying for energy.

Pilatus: A private bank for Azerbaijan’s ruling elite

by Miranda Patrucic, Juliette Garside, Khadija Ismayilova, and Jean-Baptiste Chastand | April 23 2018

Children of the two most powerful officials in Azerbaijan – President Ilham Aliyev and Minister of Emergencies Kamaladdin Heydarov – used dozens of offshore companies as cover for investments in luxury properties, businesses, and high-end hotels across Europe and Middle East.

Their secrets were hidden in the files of Pilatus Bank, a controversial private bank in Malta that’s being investigated for laundering money for its clients. The network used accounts at the bank to stash profits and funnel millions of dollars into new investments, according to three sources with knowledge of the transactions who can’t be identified because of fear of retaliation.

When Maltese blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in a car bombing on Oct. 16, 2017, she’d been digging for months into the island’s hugely profitable “passports for sale” program.

It wasn’t the only story she was working on, but it was one that involved enough money to pull the entire Maltese economy from deficit to surplus in a few short years, bringing in an estimated €850 million since January 2014.

Caruana Galizia believed that such sums were irresistible to some of the top officials in the ruling Labour Party government. She believed the passport program — formally known as the Individual Investment Program (IIP), and less formally as the Golden Visa — was rife with cronyism, bribery, and kickbacks.

Death of journalist still echoes in Malta

by Juliette Garside | April 17 2018

The Maltese investigation into Daphne’s killing has made progress. Three men are in custody. But her family has little hope that her country’s authorities will seriously pursue those who commissioned the murder. After all, Daphne had made enemies everywhere — including at the very top.

It began on October 16, 2017.

Daphne spent her last morning working at her dining room table, sitting opposite her eldest son Matthew. The air was still and heavy with the scent of wild fennel. The densely planted garden of her hilltop home in the village of Bidnija, northern Malta, muffled any noise from the road. She was absorbed in her work, and the hours passed unnoticed.