Updated | Attorney General advised police to 'tread carefully' on Panama Papers

Former head of police Economic Crimes Unit can’t recall Attorney General’s advice to tread carefully over Panama Papers because ‘there was trouble brewing for the country’ • Jason Azzopardi calls for Attorney General Peter Grech's resignation

AG Peter Grech advised police to tread carefully on Panama Papers, according to documentation presented in Caruana Galizia public inquiry
AG Peter Grech advised police to tread carefully on Panama Papers, according to documentation presented in Caruana Galizia public inquiry

Updated at 2:15pm with AG denial

The Attorney General advised the police to tread carefully when the Panama Papers scandal broke in 2016 because “trouble was brewing for the country”.

The advice was included in a raft of documents submitted by the police this morning in the public inquiry board looking into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Journalists did not have access to the documents but one of the board members, former chief justice Joseph Said Pullicino, referred to the advice when questioning Ian Abdilla, the former head of the Economic Crimes Unit.

Said Pullicino asked: “What about the Attorney General's advice to tread very carefully regarding the Panama Papers, because there was trouble brewing for the country? Was that why you did nothing?”

Abdilla replied that he could not recall the advice.

The Attorney General’s advice was also flagged by Jason Azzopardi, the lawyer representing the Caruana Galizia family, describing it in a Facebook post as “a bombshell revelation”.

Azzopardi also called for the resignation of AG Peter grech, accusing him of bootlicking the government by asking police to go slow on investigations involving corruption.

Bombshell revelation by Public Inquiry Board that in the Police file of the ECU exhibited (on the insistence of the...

Posted by Jason Azzopardi on Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Dr Peter Grech, Attorney General: you have brought the distinguished & impeccable reputation of the AG’s office into...

Posted by Jason Azzopardi on Wednesday, 1 July 2020

“I have no words strong enough to denounce your spineless, amoral bootlicking of this government. You intentionally advised and warned police not to prosecute for corruption Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri and Joseph Muscat in order to avoid unrest in the country. You contributed to Daphne’s murder.  Every day you continue in office is a filthy disgrace on your office,” Azzopardi said.

The inquiry had earlier heard how Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi – both indicated in the Panama Papers – were never summoned by the police.

The reluctance to summon Schembri and Mizzi raised the ire of another judge on the inquiry, who expressed disbelief that the two men were never questioned on Panama Papers and other cases in which their names had cropped up.

AG denies

Attorney General Peter Grech described Azzopardi's Facebook post as "an outright lie" in a statement released on Wednesday afternoon.

However, Grech limited his reaction to the Facebook post.

"The Attorney General  refers to and categorically denies as an outright lie and calumny an allegation made on Facebook and attributed to the Public Inquiry Board  by Dr Jason Azzopardi to the effect that the Attorney General gave written advice 'warning police to go slow on this investigation as it will cause trouble in the country'," Grech said.

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