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We Now Know How AG Could Have Kept Police From Investigating Panama Papers

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Malta’s Attorney General Peter Grech advised police that seizing evidence from servers linked to an accountancy firm at the heart of the Panama Papers scandal and a potential investigation into Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi would be a “drastic” move.

Quoting two sources, the Times of Malta reports that Grech had sent a note to police warning that following up on the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit’s advice to conduct a seizure of Nexia BT data would be “highly intrusive” and “counterproductive”.

He said that police should demand a “high level of reasonable suspicion” before such a measure would be justified.

Nexia BT is the accountancy firm that set up the offshore Panamanian accounts of Schembri and Mizzi. Their companies are connected to 17 Black, the Dubai-based account of Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech, which itself is linked to the controversial Enemalta purchase of Montenegrin windfarms.

Police had approached Grech following an April 2016 FIAU report which flagged reasonable suspicion of criminal activity between Schembri, Mizzi, former Allied Newspapers Managing director Adrian Hillman and others.

Grech’s advice was listened to by police, namely former Economic Crimes Unit Head Ian Abdilla and former Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta, who stopped investigations pending more information. The decision was endorsed by former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, the report claims.

Both Mizzi and Schembri have never been called into questioning by police over the involvement in the Panama Papers. The claims are still bogged down in magisterial inquiries.

Grech, who used to sit on the FIAU’s board, refused to reply to questions sent by The Times of Malta.

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