Caruana Galizia public inquiry: Axed FIAU investigator Jonathan Ferris insists John Dalli told him that Egrant belonged to the Labour Party

Jonathan Ferris, a former official at the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, tells the public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder that John Dalli told him that Egrant referred to Election Grant

Former FIAU official Jonathan Ferris will today be testifying in the public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder
Former FIAU official Jonathan Ferris will today be testifying in the public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder
16:03 That's all for today. Thank you for following. Kurt Sansone
16:02 The next sitting is on Monday at 2:30pm. Kurt Sansone
16:02 This concludes Jonathan Ferris's testimony. Kurt Sansone
16:01 Retired judge Michael Mallia, who is heading the inquiry, asks whether Ferris ever suspected that Daphne Caruana Galizia was at risk. “I didn't go into the issue. At the time, I was a police inspector and was probably also at risk,” he says. Kurt Sansone
15:57 Ferris says Dalli had described her as a "cyberterrorist". Kurt Sansone
15:57 Lawyer Andrew Borg Cardona asks whether John Dalli had ever spoken to him about Daphne Caruana Galizia. Kurt Sansone
15:56 Ferris says he was still working on the LNG file at the time of his departure from the FIAU. “There were others, like Satabank but the only file involving PEPs was the LNG one,” he adds. Kurt Sansone
15:55 Ferris says that he had bumped into Ian Abdilla at Jubilee and had an argument with him, telling him that he no longer trusted him. Kurt Sansone
15:54 "What would an idiot like you know?" Ferris recounts his reply at the time. He says that during the inquiry he was asked to confirm the contents of the file. “I did not trust them and compared my copy with Magistrate Bugeja's. I found many discrepancies,” he says. Kurt Sansone
15:53 The other officer was Inspector Rennie Stivala. Kurt Sansone
15:52 Magistrate Aaron Bugeja, who was conducting the Egrant inquiry, had summoned Ferris to testify about the LNG tanker. Ferris says he was stopped by another officer and told not to bring the whole file but just the last four pages. Kurt Sansone
15:51 Ferris says it was his son's birthday party and he had remotely checked the CCTV cameras and spotted Abdilla entering the director's office at the FIAU with other people. “It was a meeting with Alfred Zammit. I spotted Mizzi's file.” Kurt Sansone
15:49 “I started being followed by police cars,” he adds. Kurt Sansone
15:45 Ferris says he had started to suspect that his office was being searched. “It was the only office without CCTV. I developed paranoia,” he says. Kurt Sansone
15:44 Andrew Borg Cardona asks Ferris about Ian Abdilla, today an assistant police commissioner, who at the time was the police force’s liaison officer at FIAU. Kurt Sansone
15:39 Banks in non-high risk jurisdictions were reluctant to open an account for Mizzi, a politically exposed person. "That was before the Panama Papers scandal broke out," he adds. Kurt Sansone
15:38 “Mizzi had offered €4,000 to the banks just to open the accounts in these jurisdictions,” Ferris says. Kurt Sansone
15:37 Ferris says Mizzi had signed many powers of attorney which were used by persons to try and open bank accounts in Miami, Panama, Bahamas and Dubai. All attempts had been refused. Kurt Sansone
15:36 “When Konrad Mizzi was in Montenegro, two days after a deal was signed, he had made a transaction on his personal card of 1c, which usually is used to verify a card,” Ferris says. Kurt Sansone
15:35 A credit card transaction of 1c was also highlighted by the analyst, Ferris says. Kurt Sansone
15:34 Willerby Trust, Torbridge, Karl Cini, Brian Tonna, Mossack Fonseca all featured in the analyst's report. Kurt Sansone
15:34 He is asked about the companies mentioned in the report. Ferris says Hearnville, Rotorua Trust, and Tillgate, all featured. Egrant – the third Panama company to be opened – did not feature. Kurt Sansone
15:32 “The issue of the €5,000 a month that had to be received by Mizzi’s Panama company had featured, along with Mizzi’s UK house. His Sliema apartment was mortgaged and should never have been placed in a trust since it was not paid up,” Ferris explains. Kurt Sansone
15:31 Nexia BT partner Brian Tonna featured in the file because he was setting up similar structures, Ferris says. Kurt Sansone
15:30 Lawyer Andrew Borg Cardona asks him about the file's main subject. "Konrad Mizzi, then you have the involvement of Karl Cini," Ferris says. Kurt Sansone
15:29 Ferris says that after the Malta Independent on Sunday ran a story on the LNG tanker, he called Farrugia 13 times about it. They had agreed that if there were any leaks, a police report would be filed. But when he spoke to Farrugia he had said that ‘he had different instructions now.’ Kurt Sansone
15:26 “Report 168/2016 was over 130 pages long and was prepared by an analyst. It was complex reading. I examined it and made my notes. But the day before my meeting with Farrugia, Zammit and Gauci to discuss it, they had said that they hadn't read it,” Ferris says. Kurt Sansone
15:25 Ferris says that at the time he had been working on Konrad Mizzi's financial structures. Kurt Sansone
15:25 Ferris says that when he was fired from the FIAU in June 2017, he was not given a reason. “I had asked whether this was to do with the leaks and he was told it was not that. We are still seeking the reason,” he said with reference to his ongoing employment tribunal proceedings. Kurt Sansone
15:24 Ferris returned Caruana Galizia’s call and spent 45 minutes arguing over the treatment of Efimova. “A few days later she called me again to apologise. I have to make it clear that she never asked me for information, rather we would use her blog posts as an open source.” Kurt Sansone
15:22 Later, Ferris recalls, he received a phone call from Caruana Galizia. "She said, ‘hi it's Daphne', and I answered, ‘I am sorry, I'm at Mass.'" Kurt Sansone
15:20 Ferris recalls the date of Saturday 29 April 2017. “In the morning, I would go to the office to check my emails. On the day, I received a WhatsApp message from Alfred Zammit asking if I was going to the office because a sensitive meeting was underway and which I wasn't supposed to be present for. I didn't go.” Kurt Sansone
15:19 Ferris says he never met Daphne Caruana Galizia. Kurt Sansone
15:18 He did not recall any mention of Pilatus Bank in this context, either. Kurt Sansone
15:18 Ferris is asked whether the FIAU board ever asked for information about investigations or reports he was working on. "No, that would be discussed by a committee and decided by it,” he says. Kurt Sansone
15:16 The FIAU was unable to function as it should because of staffing problems, he says. “I was asked to justify it by the board and explain the setup I wanted. Kurt Sansone
15:13 Ferris explains that the FIAU runs on reasonable suspicion while the police run on reasonable doubt. “Once a report is issued there is reasonable suspicion,” Ferris says. Kurt Sansone
15:10 Comodini Cachia asks about his time in the Economic Crimes Unit. Had he been given a report by the FIAU to investigate? “No,” Ferris replies. Kurt Sansone
15:09 "On 2 November, the day after my first day, I was given a report on Keith Schembri and Adrian Hilman to sign. I said I'd review the English but I could not, on my first day, say that I endorse the contents" Kurt Sansone
15:08 He says that after Galdes left the FIAU in 2016, his deputy had signed a clean bill of health for Pilatus Bank, after a KPMG audit. Kurt Sansone
15:07 In March 2017, an analyst of the FIAU had finalised the report on Konrad Mizzi and the Panama structures, Ferris continues. Kurt Sansone
15:07 Ferris tells the inquiry that the clean bill of health for Pilatus Bank was signed by deputy director Alfred Zammit. Kurt Sansone
15:06 “I said, don't you see that you are reducing to a pile of rubble what was investigated before? Why do we use one rule with the small fry and another for other people?” Kurt Sansone
15:05 Ferris says he knew of the Pilatus Bank breaches through his conversations with bank owner Ali Sadr and learned of the clean bill of health over a coffee with the FIAU director. Kurt Sansone
15:04 “There was me, Ruth Gauci and Kenneth Farrugia and we sent for compliance to investigate the behaviour of Pilatus bank,” Ferris says. Kurt Sansone
15:03 Ferris says that he received the Pilatus Bank compliance report on 21 April 2017 when he was already at the FIAU. The report was given to him after a blog post was published that claimed that over $1million were transferred. Kurt Sansone
15:02 “When they told me Pilatus Bank I thought they were pulling my leg. I hadn't heard of it,” Ferris recounts. Kurt Sansone
15:01 “The case against Efimova was an allegation of misappropriation of a few thousand euros,” he says. Kurt Sansone
15:00 Ferris says that it was the Msida district police that handled the Pilatus Bank complaint about their former employee Maria Efimova. “When they saw numbers involved, they panicked and called in the Economic Crimes Unit,” he says. Kurt Sansone
15:00 Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia reins in the witness. “Nobody knows what you know, we're going to have to go through this piece by piece,” she says, asking him to fill in the blanks between the compliance report and the clean bill of health. Kurt Sansone
14:58 Martina Scalpello , Manfred Galdes and another person signed the FIAU compliance report, Ferris says. Kurt Sansone
14:57 “The FIAU had given a clean bill of health to Pilatus bank. When you get practitioners getting fined for minor things and then this bank with a never-ending list of breaches getting a clean bill of health...,” Ferris trails off. Kurt Sansone
14:56 Ferris says that he started at the FIAU in November 2016. The first shock was that the password was "12:00" and was common to all the systems, he says. Kurt Sansone
14:54 Lawyer Jason Azzopardi says that Peter Paul Zammit's wife is first cousin with John Dalli. Kurt Sansone
14:54 Ferris says that then police commissioner Peter Paul Zammit had been in hot water because he had not acted on the Dalli case. Kurt Sansone
14:53 Ferris jumps onto another case, involving John Dalli’s daughters. “Red 126 is the file with the charges on Corbyn Klein, Elizabeth Jackson, Charles Jackson, Roy and Gauci Borda, who is the daughter of Dalli. The charges were fraud, falsifying documents, money laundering. Red 126 went to Super. Ian Abdilla,” Ferris says, adding that he testified in that case last October. Kurt Sansone
14:51 Ferris says that when he returned to Malta, he went to Grech's office and asked him whether Kessler had sent him a letter a month back. Grech said no, but after a brief search, Grech found the still-sealed envelope. Ferris had suggested the AG to forward it, still sealed, to the police and he did. Kurt Sansone
14:50 Kessler had been probing the John Dalli snus case. Kurt Sansone
14:48 Ferris says that while on a conference in Rome, he had met with the European anti-fraud office (OLAF) head Giovanni Kessler who told him that he had sent him an email. The email was actually sent to Attorney General Peter Grech. Kurt Sansone
14:46 "Not even a letter of application was needed," he remarks. Galdes had told him that he needed an investigator of his calibre. Kurt Sansone
14:46 Ferris says that he had spoken to the head of the FIAU, Manfred Galdes, a childhood friend of his, saying that he wasn't happy in the police force and Galdes had offered him a job. A few days later he was contacted by Galdes' underling and was asked to send a CV. Kurt Sansone
14:45 “The police were in decline. I had only two sergeants and a constable assigned to me and one of them did not drive so to go out I would need to scrounge around for a driver,” Ferris recounts. Kurt Sansone
14:44 Asked whether he had left the police or was fired, he says that after former police commissioner Michael Cassar resigned, the police were like a "herd of sheep without a shepherd". Kurt Sansone
14:44 “The Police Act gives me the right not to obey an illegitimate order,” Ferris says. Kurt Sansone
14:43 Ferris says he was emailed by police officer Ian Abdilla, telling him not to create diplomatic incidents and to give them the information. He had replied that the data protection act prohibited him from doing so as it applied to "everybody, including the minister." Kurt Sansone
14:42 He says that he got a follow up email, all in caps, saying that the minister had asked for the information not someone off the street. Kurt Sansone
14:41 Ferris says that someone else sent him another email asking for a brief he had politely denied the request. Kurt Sansone
14:40 “I remember reading on the MaltaToday, the headline ‘Ferris sidelined’… I had received an email from then home affairs minister Carmelo Abela's secretary demanding a brief on the investigations. I had replied saying that I was sorry but I could not because investigations are not to be divulged.” Kurt Sansone
14:39 Ferris says that Dalli pulled him to one side and told him: “If you want to make some noise, Egrant belongs to the Malta Labout Party. It means Election grant,” Ferris says. Kurt Sansone
14:38 Ferris is asked about the investigation into former European Commissioner John Dalli. He explains that he prosecuted Silvio Zammit, Dalli’s canvasser. Ferris says that he had sent for Dalli a number of times. He recalled sending for Dalli before his termination. Kurt Sansone
14:36 Ferris says he was investigating fuel smuggling at the time when the new police commissioner Peter Paul Zammit called him to his office. Kurt Sansone
14:35 Ferris was moved to the Economic Crimes Unit during ex-police commissioner John Rizzo's time. Ferris explains that on 13 April 2013 Rizzo was no longer commissioner. Kurt Sansone
14:34 Ferris says he became a police inspector in 2011, having applied after obtaining a first degree. He obtained a diploma in policing after joining the police force. Kurt Sansone
14:34 "Let's do this chronologically," lawyer Jason Azzopardi says, asking him about his police career. Kurt Sansone
14:34 Ferris says the FIAU had investigated a claim that Michelle Muscat had transferred $1million involving the Azeri ruling family. Kurt Sansone
14:33 The police used Daphne Caruana Galizia's blog as an open source. He would be told to check the blog regularly. Kurt Sansone
14:32 Ferris speaks of the day when two police inspectors had spoken to him. He had been asked about a previous meeting where he was summoned to the directors’ office for a brainstorming session about Pilatus Bank. Ferris had been entrusted with coming up with a series of questions due to his expertise. Kurt Sansone
14:31 The board had downloaded his evidence given before the Egrant inquiry. A copy of this is handed to Ferris who spends some time familiarising himself with the document, which he declares a faithful copy of what was said during the inquiry. Kurt Sansone
14:30 The judges enter the courtroom and the sitting begins. First to be called to the stand today is Jonathan Ferris, former police inspector and FIAU investigator. Kurt Sansone
14:15 Courtroom players are slowly entering Hall 20 of the court building. So far, Therese Commodini Cachia, Andrew Borg Cardona and Peter Caruana Galizia are here. The press have settled into their usual seats. Members of the Caruana Galizia family have also taken their seat on the public benches. Kurt Sansone
14:01 Good afternoon. This is another sitting of the public inquiry that is probing the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Kurt Sansone

Jonathan Ferris has stuck to his claim that former European Commissioner John Dalli had told him that Panama company Egrant belonged to the Labour Party and referred to 'Election Grant'.

The former FIAU investigator was testifying in the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry, when he repeated the claim that had been strenuously denied by Dalli last year. Ferris had made the claim about the offshore company and its link to the Labour Party during the Egrant inquiry with Dalli insisting he never made any such insinuation.

Last December, when the Egrant inquiry was published in full, Dalli even asked the police to take action against Ferris for perjury, over the Egrant claim.

Former PN leader Simon Busuttil had suggested a similar link between Egrant and 'Election Grant' before the 2017 general election. The Egrant inquiry found that the offshore company did not belong to Joseph Muscat or his wife, an allegation made by Daphne Caruana Galizia, but did not establish for whom it was created.

Ferris told the public inquiry that at the time of his sacking from the FIAU after the 2017 general election he was working on an investigation into the LNG tanker that was part of the power station project. Ferris said he was looking into the financial structures that belonged to Konrad Mizzi.

An analyst's report had recorded even a 1c transaction on Mizzi's credit card in Montenegro, just after an agreement of sorts was signed in that country.

The last sitting of the inquiry was held on Monday. Former MFSA chairman Joe Bannister claimed under oath that he had no idea of the work carried out by the supervisory council of the financial services watchdog he was head of.

Bannister's statement prompted former chief justice Joseph Said Pullicino, a member of the inquiry board, that he was tired of hearing witnesses passing the buck and claiming they were not responsible for certain actions.

The public inquiry is charged with determining whether any wrongful action or omission by or within any State entity could have facilitated the assassination of Caruana Galizia or failed to prevent it, particularly whether the State knew or should have known of risks to the journalist’s life “at the time” of her murder.

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