[WATCH] Police investigating why Iosif Galea was not arrested in Malta, minister confirms

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri confirms that an internal police investigation is underway to determine why gaming consultant Iosif Galea was not arrested in Malta despite Germany having issued a European Arrest Warrant for him

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri
Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri has told parliament that an investigation has been launched to understand why Iosif Galea was not arrested in Malta on the strength of a German European Arrest Warrant.

“I spoke to the Police Commissioner and I am informed that investigations are being carried out, and if there is an indication of wrong doing, the neccesary steps will be taken,” Camilleri told the House in reply to a parliamentary question by Opposition MP Beppe Fenech Adami.

Maltese gaming consultant Iosif Galea was arrested in Italy on the night between the 14 and 15 May on the strength of a European Arrest Warrant issued by Germany. Galea had travelled to Italy for a holiday from Malta with a group of friends that included former prime minister Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle.

The Maltese police subsequently gave notice of a European Arrest Warrant for Galea, prompting serious questions as to why the former gaming authority official had not been arrested on the island before.

According to newspapers in the Italian city of Brindisi, in the Apulia region, Galea, 40, was arrested on the night of 14-15 May as he arrived for a holiday he was to take at Cellino San Marco. Galea was joining his partner Maria Grech, a longtime assistant of Michelle Muscat.

The German EAW concerns a tax investigation. On 25 May the Maltese police also issued its own EAW for Galea’s arrest despite him having already been stopped by the Italian police.

Camilleri does not say who is investigating

In parliament Camilleri was replying to Fenech Adami's question as to why the arrest warrant was not executed in Malta.

“You understand as a minister, I am not involved in the investigations, and I shouldn’t be involved in the investigation. When there are allegations of wrong doing, I make sure that the necceassry investigations are carried out,” he said.

He said that after speaking to the police commissioner, he was informed an internal investigation has been launched.

But the Home Affairs Minister did not reply when asked by Fenech Adami and PN MP Mark Anthony Sammut as to who is carrying out the investigation, and who will shoulder responsibilty for any shortcomings.

Camilleri resorted to a political tit for tat, choosing to mention previous cases involving the police which he felt were not properly addressed when the PN was still in government.

MaltaToday also sent questions to the police asking when they received notice of the European Arrest Warrant against Iosif Galea, and why he was not detained in Malta straight away, as opposed to in Italy, on the strength of this warrant.

In their reply, the police quoted a section of the law that precludes them from confirming such information. "The Police are not in a position to confirm or otherwise such information," came the reply.

Investigation a ‘veritable buffonata’ – Arnold Cassola

In a reaction to the minister announcement, independent candidate Arnold Cassola called the investigation a “veritable buffonata”.

“In 2017 Magistrate Bugeja asked the police to investigate Karl Cini for perjury. Nothing happened to Konrad Mizzi's auditor. In 2018 the UK police informed the Malta police that Ryan Schembri was in UK. Nothing happened to Keith Schembri's cousin. In 2021 the German police informed the Maltese police that Iosif Galea was a wanted person. Nothing happened to the boyfriend of Michelle Muscat's secretary,” he said.

He said the investigation is nothing but a “sham”.