Former police union boss Sandro Camilleri has been appointed to head a unit tasked with investigating major money laundering cases. 

Camilleri, 46, will serve as superintendent of the anti-money laundering unit within the police’s Financial Crime Investigation Department (FCID).

In the past, he has served in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and had led the police’s prosecution unit. Camilleri is known for having been the first president of the Police Officers Union, which is affiliated with the General Workers’ Union. 

He replaces Frank Tabone, who is currently out on long leave after signalling his intention to retire from the force and pursue a legal career. 

Police sources said that in recent months, several officers have left the FCID, considered one of the toughest postings in the force, which replaced the beleaguered Economic Crimes Unit. 

The ECU, once headed by suspended Assistant Police Commissioner Ian Abdilla, had been flagged as a bottleneck for major investigations into claims of corruption and bribery by public officials. 

Its replacement, the FCID, has not only had a tough time holding on to its officers but has faced difficulties in finding an assistant commissioner who would be tasked with coordinating the work of all its respective units. 

Last month, Times of Malta reported how the FCID will have to wait for a new head because the preferred candidate, Frank Tabone, had signalled his intention to quit the force. 

The police have since confirmed that the process to select a new assistant commissioner has had to start from scratch. Source said this was because several officers flagged suspected irregularities in the selection process.

Advocate for officers' rights

During his time at the helm of the police union, Camilleri became an outspoken advocate for officers’ rights, while also making regular appearances on the media as a commentator on law enforcement. 

In 2020, he had been among eight applicants for the position of police commissioner, which was secured by Angelo Gafà.

As an inspector, Camilleri had led an investigation which saw a man freed from prison after having been wrongly convicted of defiling his underage daughter.

Emmanuel Camilleri had spent 397 days behind bars after being found guilty in 2011 of defiling his daughter and was listed on the sex offenders’ register.

In 2016, following an investigation by Camilleri and testimony in court, the constitutional court had overturned the conviction.

Prior to his new FCID posting, Superintendent Camilleri was responsible for the Sliema and Ħamrun districts. He was also responsible for policing Malta’s football stadiums.

He holds a master’s degree in business administration.

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