In the last five months, Malta has reported two cases of fraud or money laundering to the European Public Prosecutors’ Office (EPPO).
This was stated by the Chief European Prosecutor Laura Kovesi in a visit to Malta during which she urged the authorities concerned to report more cases of financial crime which have originated from organised crime.
The EPPO only received two reports of alleged financial crime from Malta – both of which could not be investigated by the same office because they do not fall under its powers.
In an interview with this newsroom, Laura Kovesi said that the number of reports which the office received about Malta contrast with the number of reports received from other countries over the last five months since it was set up.
“In Malta we have two European Prosecutors, they have the same powers the national police and prosecutors have in Malta. They are in charge of carrying out investigations in cases based on the criminal code and the procedures there are in Malta and for every member state”.
Despite the low number of reports, Kovesi said this does not mean that there are no more financial crimes in Malta and has urged authorities to report more cases of this type because this is their obligation, especially when financial crimes originate from organised crime or which imply financial criminal activity from more than one country.
Kovesi explained that when a report is made about a person or company accused of financial crimes, the case is heard in that country’s Courts with the prosecution being led by a prosecutor of the country.
“We started on 1 June and we registered more than 2,200 criminal reports which we received from the national authorities, from the European bodies, but even from private parties, from citizens and from NGO’s. Based on this information we have opened more than 380 investigations in 22 member states”.
Kovesi said that the office has good relations with the Maltese authorities where they have committed themselves to helping out in the mission of this office.
She said that now she expects this commitment to be put into practice because no country in the world is clean in the way money is spent and this is a factor which results from studies carried out in this field.