Updated | Police deny ‘threatening’ Jonathan Ferris with arrest when he told them his lawyer was abroad

Former FIAU official Jonathan Ferris claimed he was threatened with arrest after informing police officers investigating the Egrant affair that his lawyer was abroad • Police say it was Ferris who suggested an arrest warrant

Former FIAU officer Jonathan Ferris
Former FIAU officer Jonathan Ferris

Updated at 11.55pm with statement from Jonathan Ferris's lawyers

At no point did police investigators threaten Jonathan Ferris with arrest when they called him in at the depot for questioning over the Egrant affair, the police said.

Recordings of the five phone calls that took place, four of which were initiated by Ferris, show that the former Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit officer was never threatened as alleged, a police statement said this evening.

“The police would like to make it clear that it was Ferris who suggested investigators issue an arrest warrant if the matter was so urgent,” the police said.

Ferris was questioned by police at the Floriana headquarters on Wednesday as part of ongoing investigations prompted by the conclusions of the Egrant inquiry.

In comments to the Times of Malta, Ferris had claimed that he was threatened with arrest by police officers who called him to fix the appointment after he asked for a postponement because his lawyer was abroad.

Ferris eventually turned up at police depot accompanied by another lawyer and was questioned for almost three hours on his testimony in front of Magistrate Aaron Bugeja.

The police insisted that officers called Ferris on Tuesday and asked him to go to the depot for questioning, informing him that he could bring his lawyer along.

READ ALSO: Former FIAU investigator Jonathan Ferris summoned for police questioning

When Ferris informed investigators his lawyer was abroad, he was given the opportunity to find another lawyer or be given an alternative appointment that was more convenient, the police said. 

“At no point did investigators threaten him with arrest… the full conversation over five phone calls (four of them initiated by Ferris) are all recorded on police headquarter numbers, and at no point was he threatened as had been alleged,” the police said.

The police, however, noted that the criminal code did empower it to ask for an arrest warrant from a magistrate when it was necessary to do so and this power should not be considered a threat when deployed legally.

Police statement is 'malicious' - Jason Azzopardi

Jonathan Ferris's lawyers, Jason Azzopardi and Kris Busietta have described the police statement released on Friday evening as "malicious, untruthful and misleading", as they published the arrest warrant obtained by the police two days before their client was called in for questioning.

The arrest warrant for Jonathan Ferris published by his lawyers
The arrest warrant for Jonathan Ferris published by his lawyers

The arrest warrant was issued by the duty magistrate on 5 August, empowering the police to arrest Ferris and investigate him on "perjury" as indicated in the Egrant inquiry. The published warrant is the first official confirmation that the Egrant inquiry indicted Ferris of lying under oath.

Azzopardi said the fact that the arrest warrant was issued 48 hours before his client was called in for questioning proves there was no urgency in the matter. "The police would do well not to continue issuing false statements to cover up for their hidden agenda," Azzopardi said.

 

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