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Sacked FIAU investigator seeks whistleblower protection

Ferris could face a five-year jail-term and a €100,000 fine

Jonathan Ferris (right) emerging from his meeting with MEPs in November. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Jonathan Ferris (right) emerging from his meeting with MEPs in November. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Former Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit investigator Jonathan Ferris is seeking legal protection as a whistleblower, the Times of Malta has learnt.

A member of Mr Ferris's legal team said he first tried to file a request with the Finance Ministry, under whose remit the government's anti-money laundering agency falls, at the end of November.

He was then sent to the Justice Ministry, which, in turn, directed him to the external whistleblower officer at the Cabinet Office.

Without the protection, Mr Ferris could face a five-year jail-term and a €100,000 fine for blowing the whistle on any corruption he may have witnessed during his time at the FIAU.

Mr Ferris told MEPs in November he had left the police force with regret, because of “direct interference” by the government in his work.

Read: Opposition calls for protection for former FIAU official, seeks minister's resignation

In a report about the rule of law in Malta published on Thursday, MEPs demanded that serious consideration be given to his application for protection under whistleblower laws.

He told MEPs that the FIAU had prepared a 130-page report about Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi. The report, he added, was reviewed in March and the FIAU’s director had agreed to send it to the police.

In a statement last month, Nationalist MEP David Casa said the report about Dr Mizzi called for criminal investigations into alleged money laundering and the possible existence of money derived from crime.

The FIAU has denied the existence of a completed report.

The MEPs who visited Malta have called on the authorities to give Mr Ferris full police protection.

He told the Times of Malta earlier this week that he had taken to legally carrying a gun after he was followed while walking his dog last month.

Mr Ferris was sacked from the FIAU in June while still in his probation period. He is contesting the dismissal before an industrial tribunal, which is set to hear a request by the Attorney General to continue hearing the case behind closed doors.

A request has also been filed for Mr Ferris’s affidavit about his time at the FIAU to be expunged, on national security grounds.

Mr Ferris’s lawyer, Jason Azzopardi, has called this an attempt to muzzle his client’s voice.

Mr Ferris is represented by Andrew Borg Cardona and Roselyn Borg.

Read: MEPs highlight 'perception of impunity' during visit to Malta

 

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