Deadly risk of pursuing money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption
The Panama Papers made headlines again yesterday—this time related to the car-bombing death of an anti-corruption journalist in the island nation of Malta. Daphne Caruana Galizia died Monday when her car exploded near her home in Malta. While the perpetrator has not yet been identified and no exact motive determined, Capuana Galicia’s reporting posed a threat to various criminal enterprises and to numerous politicians and politically exposed persons.
Caruana Galizia had been a relentless investigative reporter who had scoured the Panama Papers documents and asserted the papers showed evidence of corruption by the wife of the prime minister of Malta. Caruana Galizia published claims that the prime minister’s “wife was the beneficial owner of a company in Panama, and that large sums of money had been moved between the company and bank accounts in Azerbaijan,” according to the New York Times and other reports. Both the prime minister and his wife deny these claims.
Leaders in Malta and across the world are expressing outrage at the murder of the journalist and its implications for anti-corruption investigations and reporting. Supporters of Caruana Galizia are requesting independent investigations because of potential conflicts of interest and officials who were targeted for investigations by Caruana Galizia. Authorities in Malta have requested assistance from the U.S. FBI and Dutch forensic experts to investigate the murder.
The Panama Papers, which resulted from a trove of leaked documents from the law office of Mossack Fonseca, revealed a massive scale of global money laundering and tax evasion facilitated by off-shore accounts and opaque beneficial owners. The revelations have helped spur more and more extensive AML Compliance requirements and fuller disclosure of Ultimate Beneficial Owners.
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