The Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) greylisting of Malta disgraced the EU tax haven and money-laundering hub. And the disgrace continues. An independent investigation into the murder of Maltese blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia concluded that the government at the time was complicit by failing to act. Today, Assistant Police Commissioner Ian Abdilla has been suspended. The former head of the Economic Crimes Unit (ECU) had already been heavily criticized for failing to investigate the Panama Papers. He was one of the good friends of the Maltese corruption network around Yorgen Fenech and former government officials Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi.
Assistant police commissioner Ian Abdilla, who, according to the Times of Malta, has been widely criticized for inaction over the Panama Papers investigations, has been suspended by police commissioner Angelo Gafà. The former ECU chief was suspended just days after the findings of a public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. In 2020, the then ECU chief Ian Abdilla was removed from his post following years of accusations that he did not act despite evidence of criminal wrongdoing by top government officials. Abdilla made it from the post of a police inspector in 2015 to head of the ECU and assistant commissioner within just two years. The Maltese way, though!
A public inquiry into the ECU’s investigation into the Panama Papers was reportedly damning. Under the leadership of Ian Abdilla, the ECU failed to disclose the published findings of the Panama Papers in connection with allegations against the government of the day. The then chief of staff, Keith Schembri, has intervened directly in the ECU investigations.
Back in November 2020, former MFSA CEO Joseph Cuschieri was suspended. Yorgen Fenech invited him and MFSA’s General Counsel Edwina Licari to a trip to the United States. The casino owner Fenech is suspected by prosecutors of being the mastermind behind the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Fenech is said to have had the entire political and social elite in the palm of his hand, controlling Malta’s destiny through his many cell phones.
Irish attorney and compliance expert Joseph Gavin was recently appointed as Cuschieri’s successor and will take office in September 2021. The appointment of a foreigner to head the regulator could be a first step in draining the incredible Maltese corruption swamp and making a fresh start.