Traffic police officers involved in an alleged overtime racket are being investigated for money laundering, police sources confirmed.
A senior officer involved in investigating the case which rocked the police force earlier this year told Times of Malta that over the past few weeks the Economic Crimes Unit had been building towards filing money laundering charges against a number of officers involved in the alleged racket.
Back in February, Times of Malta had exclusively revealed how a whistleblower in the traffic section had spoken up about the abuse which has been ongoing for several months.
A lengthy investigation found that several members of the corps had been claiming overtime for jobs they never reported for or carried out.
Some 37 officers, including a Superintendent from the now-depleted unit, were arrested. None has been charged yet, with the investigation ongoing.
On Wednesday, Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi took to Facebook to slam the police’s economic investigators over decision to pursue the money laundering angle.
He said he had long been informed that Assistant Commissioner Ian Abdilla had decided to add money laundering charges to the long list of alleged offences committed by the traffic officers.
This, he said, was intended to increase the number of money laundering prosecutions opened by the police, which had been the subject of criticism by international experts MoneyVal.
The council of Europe’s money laundering experts in September gave Malta just over a year to get its act to together or face potential blacklisting as a financial jurisdiction.
Azzopardi said he would not get into the merits of opening a money laundering investigation into the traffic officers, but asked whether it was fair to add the charges for ulterior political motives.
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