Not a single actionable report of fraud related to EU funds has come from Malta yet this year, according to the head of the EU’s anti-graft agency.  

On Wednesday, Laura Kovesi, the chief prosecutor at the European Public Prosecutor’s Office raised concerns that a lack of reporting from Malta could mean possible abuse on the island is going unchecked.  

Speaking during a brief visit to Malta, Kovesi told reporters that while her office had received 2,200 reports from all around the EU so far this year, just two reports had come from Malta. 

Neither of these reports had led to investigations as they were not within her office’s remit.  

She said she was in Malta to meet with entities and bolster collaboration. Her main aim, she said, is to win the Maltese public's trust.  

The EPPO was established in 2017 to investigate, prosecute and bring to judgment crimes against the EU’s financial interests, such as fraud, corruption or serious cross-border VAT fraud.

Malta had initially declined to join the office but reversed that decision in 2018

That move had come after an international spotlight was cast on the government’s failure to fight corruption following the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The government had said in October 2017 that the decision not to join the EPPO was based on “sound technical reasons” based on the principle of subsidiarity, where countries have a right to keep certain sectors under its control.

Five months later, then justice minister Owen Bonnici announced a change of heart and Malta’s participation in the EPPO was formally approved in August 2018.

Kovesi visits police chief, FIAU over anti-fraud collaboration 

Meanwhile, fielding journalists’ questions in Valletta on Wednesday morning, Kovesi said that white-collar crime is an EU-wide problem and she was sure Malta was no exception.  

Kovesi visited the National Audit Office, the Commissioner of Police, the Attorney General as well as the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit during her visit to the island.  

White-collar crime, she said, is an underreported and underestimated phenomenon that is often far more tolerated than other more violent offences. 

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