Former police inspector and FIAU investigator Jonathan Ferris has been charged with perjury over statements he made in the Egrant magisterial inquiry, Times of Malta has reported.
The inquiry, spearheaded by now-judge Aaron Bugeja, had advised the police to investigate Ferris over a statement he passed in the inquiry that a company owned by Leyla Aliyeva, daughter of Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Alijev, had paid $600,000 to Buttardi.
Buttardi is a former fashion company set up by Michelle Muscat, wife of former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, and Michelle Buttigieg, the Malta Tourism Authority’s representative in New York.
However, forensic analysis carried out as part of the inquiry failed to find any evidence of this payment, which Ferris claimed was masked as a loan.
Magistrate Bugeja called on the police to investigate their former inspector, saying there was prima facie evidence of perjury.
Ferris will face magistrate Joe Mifsud on 11th November and will be assisted by lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Kris Busietta.
Assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had also alleged an irregular payment to Michelle Buttigieg but said the payment was of $400,000 and was transferred to her from a $1 million loan that Pilatus Bank gave its chairman’s sister Negarin Sadr in March 2016.
On 13th April 2016, JP Morgan Chase Bank confirmed with New York’s public registry that Buttigieg had fully paid off a mortgage she had been given in 2015 to purchase her Manhattan apartment for $750,000.
However, the inquiry found that while Pilatus Bank did process a $1.5 million loan to Negarin Sadr, there is no indication that some of this money was transferred to Michelle Buttigieg and that the loan was used to purchase shares in a pistachio farm in California.