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FIAU Board 'has never read' reports concerning Panama Papers individuals

'The board is not aware of the contents of these reports'

The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit's board of governors is not privy to details of investigations carried out by FIAU investigators and has never seen copies of reports they pass on to police, the FIAU board said today.

In a lengthy statement, the FIAU board, which is chaired by Attorney General Peter Grech, emphasised that its task was to set FIAU policy, not to implement it, with a clear division between its role and the operational role of the FIAU director and his staff. 

"The Board is not provided with, it does not have access to, nor does it seek to obtain any information or documentation that the FIAU is in possession of... the Board is never aware of suspicious transaction reports received by the FIAU or of their contents." 

READ: Publish FIAU reports, Busuttil urges Attorney General

"The Board is not provided with, nor does it seek to, obtain case-specific information on the intelligence work carried out by the FIAU, and is never aware of any information received or collected by the FIAU in its analytical and compliance work. The board is not informed when reports or any other disclosures are transmitted by the FIAU to the police. These reports are not provided or otherwise made available to the Board, they are not approved by the Board, nor is the Board privy to their contents. Similarly, compliance supervision reports sent by the FIAU to subject persons following on-site inspections are not provided or otherwise made available to the Board, and do not require the approval of the Board, nor is the Board privy to their contents," the statement continued. 

"These reports are not provided or otherwise made available to the Board, they are not approved by the Board, nor is the Board privy to their contents. Similarly, compliance supervision reports sent by the FIAU to subject persons following on-site inspections are not provided or otherwise made available to the Board, and do not require the approval of the Board, nor is the board privy to their contents," the statement continued. 

The FIAU board was prompted to make a public statement following various calls for it to publish reports concerning investigations into Pilatus Bank, the Prime Minister's chief of staff Keith Schembri and Nexia BT managing partner Brian Tonna. 

On Sunday, PN leader Simon Busuttil used a public meeting in Vittoriosa to urge the Attorney General to "publish all reports" related to Mr Schembri and Mr Tonna.  

In its statement, the board said that while it had been informed "in generic terms" by the FIAU director about reports related to people mentioned in the Panama Papers, its involvement ended there. 

"The board is not aware of the contents of these reports. Neither the Chairman nor any other member of the Board has ever read or has ever been in possession of any copy of these reports, nor does the Board have access to them," it said in today's statement. 

Anti-money laundering laws make it illegal for any FIAU employee or official to disclose information related to the unit's investigations, with exceptions made when competent authorities - including an inquiring magistrate - make requests related to money laundering, drug offences or funding terrorism. 

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