The Malta Independent 25 June 2019, Tuesday

New Organised Economic Crime unit on the cards, Finance Minister says

Albert Galea Tuesday, 11 June 2019, 10:53 Last update: about 13 days ago

A new Organised Economic Crime unit which will have the power to supervise, investigate and push for prosecution is on the cards, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna told The Malta Independent.

In an interview published in The Malta Independent on Sunday FIAU Director and Deputy Director Kenneth Farrugia and Alfred Zammit expressed their concern at the low level of police action taken on FIAU reports.

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“Around 10 per cent of the reports received by the FIAU result in an analytical report being sent to the police for criminal investigation after the FIAU’s work is concluded. Unfortunately, the number of reports sent to the Police that lead to a prosecution is really low, and the number of prosecutions resulting in convictions is also low”, Zammit lamented.

“If you see what the FIAU sends to the police and what results in a conviction, there is nothing to write home about. The conversion rates are really low, and it is an issue that is affecting a lot of countries, not just Malta”, Zammit said before noting that this was not necessarily the police’s fault but that the whole system needs to be looked at.

Asked about what action the Finance ministry was taking in dealing with this situation, Scicluna said that there are plans for the potential establishment of a new unit specifically dealing with Organised Economic Crime on a large scale, crime which is normally flagged by the MFSA or FIAU but which is then passed onto the police.

Scicluna said that the ministry is currently interacting with the British Home Office over this and other matters and added that the ministry will not shy away from founding new institutions if they are so required.

This Organised Economic Crime unit would, Scicluna, be made up of dedicated experts in the field who will have the right to supervise, investigate and prosecute suspected criminal acts in this field.

 

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