The minister responsible for the police dodged questions on leaked emails that appear to show officers 'colluded' with the attorney general to spare two Pilatus Bank officials from criminal prosecution.

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri on Friday would not comment on the allegations published by Repubblika president Robert Aquilina in a book about the now-disgraced and shuttered bank.

When pressed by reporters to comment on Aquilina's claims and to say whether he was taking any action on them, he would only say that there is an ongoing case before the courts and any person who believes in the rule of law should allow that process to come to an end in due time.

Video: Chris Sant Fournier.

"I am not involved in the investigative process and both the police and the attorney general have the autonomy to work freely and make whatever decisions they deem fit," he said.

"There is an ongoing court case and if we truly believe in the rule of law we should not interfere with judicial proceedings and allow the court to come to a decision in due time."

Aquilina claimed that police and Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg decided not to prosecute top Pilatus Bank officials - despite a magisterial inquiry recommending they do so - and later tried to find reasons to justify why they would not charge them.

Camilleri also dodged repeated questions on whether he spoke to police commissioner Angelo Gafa since the claims emerged. He only went as far as to say that he meets with many heads of government entities and institutions, but refused to comment further.

Police Commissioner had pinned responsibility on AG

Last November, on Andrew Azzopardi's radio programme on 103 Malta's Heart, Commissioner Angelo Gafa defended the police for not charging Pilatus officials, saying that the prosecution of financial crimes falls exclusively within the remit of the office of the attorney general and it is the AG that must decide whether or not to prosecute.

"We need to distinguish between the police, who investigate, and the office of the attorney general, which prosecutes," he said.

"The police do not decide whether to prosecute people for financial crimes. It is the attorney general who has the final say on that."

Police potentially 'involved in collusion'

In his 700-page book, Robert Aquilina published a series of emails in which three police inspectors discussed how they needed “points” to justify the decision by AG Victoria Buttigieg not to prosecute Pilatus Bank’s former risk manager Antoniella Gauci and operations supervisor Mehmet Tasli despite a magisterial inquiry recommending money-laundering charges against them.

Aquilina claimed Gauci has close ties with Prime Minister Robert Abela.

The book says that Gauci's father and brother were Abela's clients when he was a lawyer and his canvassers in political life.

He claimed that Buttigieg colluded with senior police officers to decide to give Gauci “a get-out-of-jail-free card”.

He said together they decided to issue a declaration, known in legal jargon as a nolle prosequi, to ensure that the authorities would not prosecute her, despite direction from inquiring magistrate Ian Farrugia to arraign her.

The emails also suggested that the police did not have a justification for their request for such a declaration and were scrambling to find reasons to back up their recommendation to the AG.

AG, Justice Minister also dodge questions

Buttigieg and Justice Minister Jonathan Attard were also uncomfortable addressing the claims earlier this week.

During a press conference on justice reform on Tuesday, they would not answer questions on the claims in the book and Buttigieg simply walked away from reporters.

Attard gave a reply that was almost identical to Byron Camilleri's reply on Friday, and would not allow reporters to ask the AG questions, complaining that journalists were being disrespectful when they tried to pursue Buttigieg for answers.

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