Updated Jan 31, 8.15am - Added Casa reaction

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Tuesday insisted that the laws governing the FIAU had to be safeguarded by people with political responsibility.

Speaking in parliament, Dr Muscat said he would not be mentioning any names so as not to be political about the matter.

MEP David Casa has claimed to be in possession of a report calling for Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi to be investigated for money laundering.

He said he would be releasing the report in “the coming weeks”.

The FIAU has insisted the release of its reports was illegal.

Read: FIAU reacts as David Casa says new report leaves ‘no choice' but for Mizzi, Schembri to be removed

Replying to questions by Opposition leader Adrian Delia who asked if the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit would be strengthened, and pending investigations concluded, Dr Muscat said the FIAU was an independent institution, and no prime minister or minister instructed it what it should do.

Dr Muscat said the FIAU had over the years been given sufficient resources by successive government.

The law governing such independent institutions had to be followed, and these laws had to be safeguarded by people in a position of political responsibility, he said.

Reacting on Facebook, Mr Casa wrote that he was "not impressed". 

"The laws that should have been respected are the ones against corruption, money laundering and abuse of power," he said, arguing that FIAU secrecy laws had been abused to protect "criminals". 

 

Damage to Malta's reputation

In parliament, Dr Delia asked the Prime Minister whether any analysis of the reputational damage being done to Malta's financial services was under way.

Dr Muscat said both the government and the Malta Financial Services Authority were listening to industry stakeholders. The main feedback was that everyone should work together to defend the sector.

He insisted that characterising Malta as a tax haven was wrong. Tax havens did not share information, as they operated in secrecy.

Questioned how he would fend off “attacks” from other jurisdictions, Dr Muscat retorted that it was internal attacks that worried him.

Dr Muscat pointed out that the government had a parliamentary secretary whose sole focus was the financial services sector.

Read: Remove politicians implicated in serious corruption, European Parliament report says

Asked which suggestions from the MEPs' rule of law report would be taken on board, Dr Muscat said he would not be going into this.

He said certain things in the report were factually incorrect.

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