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[WATCH] CapitalOne inquiry: report to be published ‘in coming days’

Joseph Muscat pledges to publish CapitalOne inquiry in the coming days, after receiving all the 'necessary advice'  

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
27 February 2017, 12:55pm
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat pledges to publish CapitalOne inquiry report 'as soon as possible'
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat pledges to publish CapitalOne inquiry report 'as soon as possible'
CapitalOne inquiry report to be published in the 'coming days'
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has pledged to publish in the coming days an inquiry board’s conclusions into allegations raised in a MaltaToday report into how police didn’t pursue a money laundering investigation when PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami’s name cropped up.

“We are fetching the necessary advice on the report, and I think when it is published it will be evident why advice is being sought,” Muscat said in comments to the press. “There are a number of issues for myself, as a person responsible for and to Malta’s institutions, to consider and I cannot just do and say something for the sake of it.

“My intention is to publish the report ASAP. I’m not prolonging its publication or awaiting the right political moment to do so. Once I am satisfied that I have the necessary advice on the way forward and all my questions are answers, I will publish it. I don’t foresee this taking weeks, but only days.”

Three retired judged – Joseph Camilleri, Lawrence Quintano and Philip Sciberras – were entrusted with the inquiry into the police’s handling of the CapitalOne investigation in October 2016.

MaltaToday reported that a January 2013 police investigation that had raised the spectre of money laundering was never pursued by the Maltese police, ostensibly when police found out that Fenech Adami – who was then parliamentary assistant for home affairs – was the director of a fiduciary services company handling the affairs of CapitalOne Investment Group.

Read more: The CapitalOne investigation and Beppe Fenech Adami

The report revealed that, acting on a Dutch request for assistance in late 2012, Maltese police were looking into the banking transactions of CapitalOne, a company connected to Robert Soogea, a Dutchman whose property was raided by police in a drug bust.
In an investigation carried out jointly by MaltaToday and freelance journalist Mark Hollingsworth, sources privy to the Dutch investigation expressed frustration that not all evidence connected to banking transactions by CapitalOne were passed on to them by the Maltese police.

Both Beppe Fenech Adami and Robert Abdilla Castillo – directors of Baltimore Fiduciary, which acted as the nominee company that ‘owned’ CapitalOne’s shares – denied knowing anything of this investigation, even though an asset freeze was ordered on request of the Dutch police.

Socialist MEP Ana Gomes said last week that the Capital One case should be investigated by Europol, but Fenech Adami scoffed at the suggestion that such an investigation would occur.

‘I will reserve judgement on Gozo drugs report pending inquiry'

Muscat also declined to comment on a recent report by MaltaToday that two Gozitan youths were given the opportunity to expunge a police statement in which they had admitted to trafficking drugs.

This was made possible by the timely intervention of two senior government politicians, this newspaper has learnt through various sources.

When asked whether he is concerned that this case has exposed a certain malaise within the Gozo police force, Muscat said he will reserve judgement pending the results of an inquiry that he announced on Sunday.

“These allegations were made by [Opposition MP] Chris Said, and I will only be concerned if the inquiry proves that he was saying the truth,” he said. “I will not react based solely on a report, but on the results of the inquiry which – unlike other politicians – I have no problem conducting.”

He also took a swipe at Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, accusing him of attacking the police force and of launching an aggressive campaign with the intention of provoking the government to respond in kind.

“When I was Opposition leader, I had reservations on certain institutions but I never attacked them. [Busuttil] is employing aggressive tactics, but I have no intention to fight him head on.”

The last time MaltaToday reported allegations of irregularities with the Gozitan Police in arraigning footballer Daniel Bogdanovic, Muscat had set up an independent inquiry.

That inquiry revealed that the arresting officer could have felt a degree of pressure to release Bogdanovic in time for a Sunday football match, after a telephone call from an Assistant Commissioner in Malta, and a conversation she had with her Superintendent on the day of the footballer’s release. Last Wednesday, Bogdanovic was fined €1,000 and had his firearms licence suspended for a year over the incident in question.