Labour MP Manuel Mallia said this evening that an investigation should be carried out into whether it was true that the Nationalist Party had received or seen FIAU reports, and if so, how they were leaked, and by whom.

Speaking in Parliament, Dr Mallia said that the Opposition was encouraging people to commit a crime when it boasted of being in possession or having seen reports by the FIAU (Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit).

The police over the past months have been strongly criticised by the PN and the media for not following up reports drawn up by the FIAU, notably with regard to transactions involving secret companies in Panama. 

Dr Mallia said any leakage of FIAU documents was prohibited by law, and on conviction, anyone who leaked such documents was liable to a fine of up to €116,000 and/or up to five years imprisonment.

The fact that the Nationalist Party was saying it had FIAU reports or has seen FIAU reports made it, at least, an accomplice in a criminal act, Dr Mallia said.

Such behaviour also amounted to encouraging people to commit a crime by leaking the documents.

Furthermore, by analogy, people who received such reports would be receiving stolen property, which was also a crime.

The documents of the FIAU needed to be kept secret because the unit’s investigations were sensitive and disclosure of information would undermine those very investigations, Dr Mallia said.

The minister explained that in terms of the law, the FIAU board was responsible for policy while the FIAU director was responsible for implementation of that policy and the exercise of the functions of the unit.

The board, which includes the Attorney General, the Governor of the Central Bank, the chairman of the MFSA and the Police Commissioner, did not involve itself in operations and had no access to suspicious transaction reports or other investigations made by the unit. Nor could it know about any reports transmitted by the FIAU to the police.

Therefore it was wrong for anyone to criticise the Attorney General regarding the FIAU. He had no way of knowing about the unit’s investigations.

Dr Mallia insisted that the PN and anybody else should not encourage anyone to leak information when this was a crime. An investigation should be carried out into whether it was true that the PN had had access to the FIAU reports, who had leaked them, and how.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us