FIAU gets new director, six months after Manfred Galdes's resignation

Kenneth Farrugia is appointed Director of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, six months after the resignation of Manfred Galdes who led an investigation into the Panama Papers revelations

FIAU's new director, Kenneth Farrugia, previously headed the Internal Audit and Investigations Department
FIAU's new director, Kenneth Farrugia, previously headed the Internal Audit and Investigations Department

The Board of Directors of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit has finally appointed a new Director to replace Manfred Galdes, who had resigned in August 2016.

Kenneth Farrugia, a fellow member of the Malta Institute of Accountants (MIA) and a committee member within the Malta Forum of Internal Auditors (MFIA), was selected after a public call for applications and an interviewing process.

Throughout his career, Farrugia held audit positions both within private audit firms and the public sector.  For the past nine years, he was engaged within the Internal Audit and Investigations Department (IAID), heading the department from November 2012.

Farrugia is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Accountancy (Hons) and a MA in Business Ethics. He has extensive experience in EU funds audits, internal audit, risk management, financial investigations and AFCOS related matters. 

In a reaction, the PN said that Farrugia should immediately publish the results of the investigation into Schembri and Mizzi. “The people have a right to know,” the PN said.

Galdes, who joined the legal advisory firm Fenech Farrugia Fiott (FFF) Legal soon after resigning in August, had been the director of the FIAU since 2008, following a stint with the MFSA and a private services firm before that.

Manfred Galdes resigned from his post at FIAU in August 2016
Manfred Galdes resigned from his post at FIAU in August 2016

In April 2016, at the height of the media frenzy on the Prime Minister’s chief of Staff Keith Schembri’s and energy minister Konrad Mizzi’s involvement in the Panama Papers leaks, finance minister Edward Scicluna had confirmed in parliament that the FIAU was investigating the matter.

The responsibilities related to the governance of the FIAU are divided among the board of governors and the director, with the board establishing the policy and the director being tasked with the execution of that policy.

Unconfirmed rumours started circulating last year to the effect that Galdes had handed his confidential report into the matter to then police commissioner Michael Cassar in April.

Maltese law stipulates that the police commissioner has the final say as to whether or not to prosecute in cases relating to money laundering, and to take action on reports by the FIAU.

Galdes’ move to FFF Legal had raised questions on how ethical it was for him to join one of the very companies the FIAU was sure to have monitored, as a provider of financial and legal services to high-net-worth individuals and corporations, when he led the agency up to a few days prior.

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