Current Affairs
Manfred Galdes says lack of resources made FIAU’s work useless

Dr Manfred Galdes, former chief executive of FIAU, said that the lack of resources in the Police section on economic crimes was making FIAU’s work useless.

He stated that reports that FIAU passed on to Police were investigated by a unit consisting only of three Inspectors, who carried out other duties in court and abroad.

Testifying before a board of inquiry, Dr Galdes said that he had informed Finance Minister Edward Scicluna that FIAU couldn’t carry out its obligations according to law. He said that the agency couldn’t offer competitive salaries and couldn’t find the necessary people. Although he found support from the Ministry so that the situation is changed, he added that the MPO at the Prime Minister’s Office stopped the process for salary increases. This occurred at the same time when cases related to politically exposed persons were being investigated.

He stated that FIAU reports which were stuck at the Police did not only involve politically exposed persons but also suspicious transactions on which an order to freeze assets could have been issued, but nothing was done for two years.

Asked about information provided by FIAU board members, Dr Galdes said that these members were not given specific information on ongoing investigations. On the FIAU media leaked report on alleged bribery in the passport scheme to Keith Schembri, Galdes stated after seeing a document that this was not the final report, however the report writing is very similar to a report he passed to Police later on.

Mr Galdes said that in April 2006 he gave Police Commissioner Michael Cassar documents that showed the bank transactions of politically exposed persons. He said that he also sent a letter to Commissioner Cassar in which he explained the context of the documents so that the Police may start investigations.

Regarding the Pilatus Bank investigations, Galdes said that FIAU officials spent 10 days at the bank’s offices. He had meetings with its chairman, Ali Sadr, on the lack of information by the bank on the source of funds of its clients. He added that Mr Sadr told him that he disagrees with the FIAU’s report on Pilatus Bank and blamed the bank’s employees, whom he said didn’t know where that information is kept.

Asked if he ever had political interference, Mr Galdes stated that the only occasion was when the Parliamentary Secretary sent him a message on a person who applied to be employed with FIAU. He said this person was not employed. On direct interference, he added that there wasn’t any however he remarked that there were two incidents which bothered him shortly before he resigned.

His testimony continued behind closed doors.

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