PN not considering police challenge on Panama Papers investigation

FIAU director’s resignation prompts speculation of disagreements over Panama Papers investigation

PN deputy leader Mario de Marco and Opposition MP Kristy Debono address a press conference
PN deputy leader Mario de Marco and Opposition MP Kristy Debono address a press conference

The Opposition will not mount a police challenge in courts, demanding that an investigation into the Panama Papers, is carried out by the police.

PN deputy leader Mario de Marco today said at a press conference that the government had left much to be desired following the unannounced resignation of the director of the Financial Information Analysis Unit, Manfred Galdes.

The Opposition claims that Galdes has resigned over an alleged disagreement connected to an investigation into the Panama Papers, the leaks that revealed Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and the former energy minister Konrad Mizzi had opened secret offshore companies in Panama and even sought to open a Panamanian bank account.

But De Marco said the PN would not try to force the Commissioner of Police to investigate allegations of tax avoidance by mounting a police challenge.

“We’re not considering it at this stage,” he said of the legal procedure in which the PN can ask a magistrate to force the Commissioner to initiate a criminal investigation. “We still have hope that the police does its job as it’s supposed to. And we still don’t know if the FIAU has passed on its investigation to the police yet. We don’t exclude it in the future.”

De Marco today said the PN wants to know why the government did not announce Galdes’s resignation, the reason for the resignation, and at what stage were investigations into the Panama Papers.

The government has claimed that Galdes was transiting into private employment, but De Marco claimed the government statement was “too short and lacking in detail”.

“I also question why Manfred Galdes has not issued a statement himself. It only raises more questions. If we want the FIAU to continue to be perceived as autonomous by the people, then these questions have to be answered.”

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