[WATCH] Police corps passed FATF scrutiny ‘with flying colours’, commissioner says

Police commissioner Angelo Gafà defends police record in prosecutions of money laundering offences

Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà
Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà

Malta’s police force “passed with flying colours” a scrutiny by the Financial Action Task Force on both its investigations and prosecutions, Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà told MaltaToday.

But he insisted there was still room for improvement, saying the police force considers itself part of a larger structure of investigation.

The FATF decided last week to put Malta on its greylist of countries under increased scrutiny. Malta’s police force has often been criticised for a lack of prosecutions on money laundering investigations prior to a shake-up with the appointment of Gafà in early 2020.

Gafà insisted the police corps was well-equipped enough to investigate, charge and convict cases of money laundering.

30 cases of money laundering have been brought to court in 2021 alone, he said.

“Up until last year, we had 21 cases of money laundering taken to court, and we have to compare them to the nine of the previous year, and the 10 of year before,” Gafà said.

“This shows that the police corps has not only strengthened its human resources, but showed its work in the outcome of those investigations.”

Asked whether the police were effective enough on prosecutions, the police commissioner said the corps worked in synergy with other entities such as the Attorney General and the courts. “We are working in synergy with a number of entities in the country to ensure the police’s work reaches a conclusion, and I am the first one to admit that we want to see more convictions,” he said.

“We have to understand that money laundering cases are complex to investigate.”

Gafà pointed out that in the last months, the police force had strengthened its partnership with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and other entities. “There is always room to improve.”

Gafà pointed out that intelligence alone from the FIAU was not enough to have convictions. “Intelligence is what shows you where you should focus in an ocean of information, and that is the FIAU’s job – to point you towards where you should look. Than it is the police’s job to translate that intelligence into evidence,” he said.