Simon Busuttil refuses to disclose FIAU leak in magisterial inquiry

PN leader Simon Busuttil has been asked by magistrate leading inquiry into FIAU leaks to disclose source of his information

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil

A magistrate holding an inquiry on a complaint by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, has demanded that Opposition leader Simon Busuttil reveal who leaked several preliminary reports and other excerpts from the FIAU investigations on Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi.

The outgoing PN leader said he has refused to reveal the source of information.

Instead, he accused Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of “persecuting those who uncover corruption”.

The inquiry being held by Doreen Clarke is on a complaint filed by the FIAU, the anti-money laundering agency whose job is to collect information on suspicious transactions and forward them to the police.

Article 33 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act states that any FIAU employee that discloses information from the FIAU, would be liable to a five-year prison term and a €116,000 fine.

In the months running up to the June election, two preliminary reports penned by the former FIAU director Manfred Galdes and sent to the Commissioner were leaked to the press; Busuttil himself published details of FIAU report into offshore transactions carried out between Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and auditor Brian Tonna; while an excerpt of an ongoing FIAU investigation was published by the Malta Independent on alleged offshore dealings with the Armada group that owns the floating gas terminal in Delimara.

“I have given my word that I will grant protection to whoever is ready to come forward with information. I have kept my word. I defended those who are fighting corruption, while Muscat is defending those who are being investigated for corruption. This is the pitiful state in which our country’s justice is.”

Magisterial inquiries

There are at least four inquiries linked to allegations concerning the Prime Minister and chief of staff Keith Schembri, apart from the complaints on the leak of FIAU reports.

Doreen Clarke heads the inquiry on the FIAU complaint over reports published in The Times and Malta Independent, on its compliance report on Pilatus Bank having been leaked.

Magistrate Aaron Bugeja heads the Egrant inquiry, kickstarted on a complaint by the Prime Minister himself on allegations against him by Malta Independent columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera heads inquiry on the leak of a preliminary report penned by former FIAU director Manfred Galdes, to the then Commissioner of Police Michael Cassar in April 2016, also dealing with Pilatus Bank.

Magistrate Josette Demicoli leads the inquiry on accusations by Busuttil of money laundering against Allied Group managing director Adrian Hillman and Keith Schembri. since before Schembri entered politics.

Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras is also investigating another complaint, this time allegations by Simon Busuttil, of a €100,000 kickback ostensibly paid into Keith Schembri’s Pilatus bank account by Nexia BT’s managing partner Brian Tonna through his offshore company Willerby Trade, which he used to retain fees for services related to the sale of Maltese citizenship.

The accusations emanate from the preliminary report that Manfred Galdes, the former FIAU director, had penned in a report to Commissioner of Police Michael Cassar in April 2016, before the latter resigned without an investigation taking place.

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