Updated 10am - Added video

Former police inspector Jonathan Ferris resisted an order from his superior not to create a “diplomatic incident” with a minister by directly divulging information about an investigation, e-mails shown to Times of Malta show.

Mr Ferris has accused then Police Minister Carmelo Abela of trying to interfere in a fraud investigation. The minister denies any such interference.

Mr Abela last week published a number of the e-mails, which show how a member of his secretariat sent Mr Ferris repeated requests for updates about the investigation on his behalf.

After the first two attempts were frustrated, the Home Affairs Ministry official made it clear to Mr Ferris that it was the minister who had requested the updates.

Two further messages given to the Times of Malta by the former inspector show how the head of the Economic Crimes Unit, Ian Abdilla, replied privately to this e-mail, urging Mr Ferris not to create a “diplomatic incident” with the minister.

It’s like playing a chess game, but the government must know that I am a very good chess player

In reply, Mr Ferris told Mr Abdilla that data protection laws applied to all and the police were not allowed to pass information to third parties who had nothing to do with the case.

Mr Ferris told Times of Malta said if a minister wanted to receive updates about an investigation, this should be done through the Police Commissioner.

“I am duty-bound to give information to my superiors and to the Police Commissioner. It is then up to them to decide what to do with it,” Mr Ferris said.

Mr Ferris said he regretted the minister’s attack on his credibility, as the e-mail published clearly showed he was telling the truth about the “interference”.

Asked why he thought people in government were questioning his credibility, Mr Ferris said: “When you are defending a defenceless position, you try to minimise the damage by instilling doubts about the credibility of your opponent. It is like playing a chess game.”

“However, the government must know that I am a very good chess player,” Mr Ferris added.

The former inspector and FIAU official has warned that if anything were to happen to him, all the incriminating evidence in his possession would be released.

The MEPs who visited Malta last week to investigate the state of the rule of law have asked for Mr Ferris and his family to be given full protection.

Mr Ferris told the MEPs that the head of the government’s anti-money-laundering agency, the FIAU, had stopped him from taking a report into the Panama Papers activities of Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi to court.

 

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