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Leonid Bershidsky

Malta Proves Oligarchs Aren’t All Eastern European

A government crisis is a reminder that official corruption — and violence — can shake even seemingly stable countries.

Not going away.

Not going away.

Photographer: Stringer/AFP

The government crisis in Malta, one of the smallest European Union members, shows that oligarchs who purchase political influence — and who may do just about anything, including commit murder, to avoid being caught — aren’t just a post-Communist phenomenon. 

The crisis comes two years after the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in a car-bombing. Earlier this month, a suspected middleman in the killing was arrested on unrelated charges and offered up information on the case in exchange for a conditional presidential pardon. Last week, soon after the offer was made, authorities arrested one of the country’s wealthiest businessmen, Yorgen Fenech, in connection with the murder as he was attempting to flee on his yacht. (Fenech, who has not yet been charged, was released on bail Tuesday.)