Former FIAU boss gave information on Keith Schembri directly to police commissioner back in 2016

Former FIAU boss Manfred Galdes testified about reports concerning persons of interest in Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder and on whom police had failed to take action

Former FIAU boss Manfred Galdes
Former FIAU boss Manfred Galdes

The former boss of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), Manfred Galdes, gave all the information he had gathered on the former chief of staff, Keith Schembri, to the former police commissioner Michael Cassar in 2016. 

The possibly incriminating evidence he gave to police included bank statement and documentation which showed the beneficial owners of certain companies, possibly Willerby Trade, a company in the British Virgin Islands, through which Keith Schembri is alleged to have been paid €100,000 in kickbacks.

"When I went to Commissioner Michael Cassar, there was information which ended up in more than one report," Galdes told a board of public inquiry on Monday, referring to leaks in the media. 

Cassar had eventually resigned from his post in April 2016, citing health reasons. He was replaced by Lawrence Cutajar. 

Galdes testified before the board of inquiry tasked with determining whether any wrongful action or omission by or within any State entity could have facilitated the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

"During instances when PEPs are being investigated by the FIAU, I felt it was my duty to inform the Unit's board about what was being investigated but not on the contents of the investigation. This was done on a 'need to know' basis," Galdes told the court.

Lawyer Therese Commodini Cachia asked Galdes who was on the FIAU board at the time, to which Galdes replies that assistant police commissioner Pierre Calleja had been replaced by assistant police commissioner Silvio Valletta.

It was revealed on Sunday how Valletta had traveled abroad to watch a football match with Tumas magnate Yorgen Fenech, now charged with masterminding the murder of Caruana Galizia.

Valletta denied having had any knowledge of Fenech as a suspect at the time, despite the fact that he was also a board member of the FIAU, the same entity that had been investigating the alleged links between the Dubai firm 17 Black and the Panama firm opened by Keith Schembri.

Valletta's wife, Gozo minister Justyne Caruana, resigned soon after the revelation.

Galdes told the inquiry that he used to regularly warn that the FIAU was under-resourced, to the point that it was unable to fulfill its mandate.

Galdes's testimony continued behind closed doors before he said that it was normal practice for the FIAU and the police to do parallel work on the same cases.

This contradicted the former police commissioner Michael Cassar's earlier testimony where he had claimed that the police work and FIAU investigations "do not overlap and do double work."