Two FIAU officials sacked, Nationalist MP says

FIAU compliance chief Charles Cronin and head of financial analysis unit Jonathan Ferris ‘sacked’ from anti money laundering unit

Two officials at Malta’s Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit have been sacked, Nationalist Party MP Jason Azzopardi claimed on Facebook.

The two men are Charles Cronin, an accountant employed back in October 2016, and former police inspector Jonathan Ferris.

“FIAU Head of Compliance fired. The witch hunt continues by the corrupt govt. The best is yet to come,” Azzopardi wrote on his Facebook wall Friday morning.

Cronin previously worked in the financial services sector in London, Jersey and Frankfurt. As compliance manager, he was responsible for overseeing the FIAU’s compliance section, a team of 14, and the unit’s on- and off-site examinations.

Ferris was a former inspector in the police economic crimes unit.

The FIAU is tasked with investigating suspicious transaction reports in financial services. It was at the heart of the run-up to 2017’s snap election, when a series of leaks revealed the extent of interest in the affairs of the prime minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri.

The findings are now the subject of various magisterial inquiries.

The FIAU is headed by Kenneth Farrugia, who took over at the FIAU in February, six months after former boss Manfred Galdes resigned following the Panama Papers controversy.

Investigations by the financial intelligence analysis unit (FIAU) had recommended further investigations into the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri.
The Panama Papers had revealed that Schembri and then energy minister Konrad Mizzi had opened two offshore Panama companies and New Zealand trusts.
A preliminary report by Galdes on an FIAU compliance visit was handed over to the police shortly before the April 2016 Cabinet reshuffle of 28 April, leading to Mizzi being ‘demoted’ to a minister without portfolio inside the Office of the Prime Minister.

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