Police failed to follow procedure with FIAU reports claims former investigator

Jonathan Ferris said during an interview that the police never registered the FIAU reports into suspicions of money laundering as per standard procedure

The recently-dismissed former investigator said the police did not follow standard procedures when they received the reports
The recently-dismissed former investigator said the police did not follow standard procedures when they received the reports

Former Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) inspector Jonathan Ferris has said that the police failed to follow normal procedure and register reports by the agency that raised suspicions of money laundering by OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.

Ferris was speaking during an interview with The Sunday Times of Malta, where he said that under normal circumstances, such reports are picked up from the offices of the FIAU by the police who then proceed to the police registry for them to be given a CID number.

He said the reports then normally go to a superintendent, who assigns them to an inspector, who in turn consult with their superiors before “going straight to the Attorney General”.

Ferris described how he was fired from the FIAU last month while still on probation, having started at the end of 2016.

He said that shortly after the Egrant allegation emerged, he had been taken off all government investigations, something he had found strange, given that he had worked on a number of similar cases in the past.

According to Ferris, the official reason given was that he had a conflict of interest since “he had once arrested the Russian whistle-blower, after Pilatus Bank filed a criminal complaint, accusing her of defrauding the bank”.

He insisted that he had been side-lined since the government did not want him “digging too deeply” after the FIAU had carried out a wide-ranging investigation into the revelations from the Panama Papers leak.

Ferris said that once it had become apparent to him that his future did not lie with the FIAU, he had asked to be reinstated with the police, however was told it would be best to wait till after the election, when rather than being re-instated, he was fired from the FIAU while still under probation.

He insisted that his termination was like a badge of honour and that he had been fired for doing his job “so well”.

Finally, turning to the laws governing the FIAU’s operation, Ferris stressed that it should not be the case that the agency’s board of directors is chaired by the Attorney General and includes representatives from the police and central bank.

Only without such involvements can the agency be truly autonomous, with no one “butting in”.