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German investigators ‘to take FIAU reports into account’

MEP David Casa wrote to more than 50 anti-money laundering agencies

German investigators would be taking “into account” leaked reports drawn up by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, Christine Lambrecht, parliamentary secretary at the Ministry of Finance in Berlin, told Nationalist MEP David Casa.

Christine Lambrecht, parliamentary secretary at the German Ministry of Finance.Christine Lambrecht, parliamentary secretary at the German Ministry of Finance.

Mr Casa wrote to over 50 international anti-money-laundering agencies, giving them details that emerged from the Panama Papers and FIAU reports about money-laundering suspicions involving the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and a leaked compliance report about Pilatus Bank.

Ms Lambrecht replied saying the information submitted by Mr Casa would be taken into account by Germany’s anti-money-laundering unit (FIU) on an ongoing basis as part of its analytical work. It would also independently initiate further measures as necessary, she added.

She said the FIU, which falls under her political responsibility, had been comprehensively informed about the Panama Papers and was involved in the work of the federal criminal police office, which, she noted, held core responsibilities in preparing the “Panama Papers case”.

Ms Lambrecht assured Mr Casa the FIU was aware of the issues addressed in his letter and assured him she was committed to the fight against money laundering.

Germany’s federal police said last year they had bought the entire Panama Papers cache for €5 million.

The cache consists of leaked data from the now-defunct Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Mossack Fonseca’s local representatives were Nexia BT, a consultant to the Office of the Prime Minister.

Nexia BT opened the Panama companies for Mr Schembri and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and sheltered them in trust structures that were not declared to the local tax authorities.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat deplored the “politically naive and insensitive” advice given by Nexia BT to Dr Mizzi and Mr Schembri. Still, Nexia BT was retained as a consultancy on an €80,000 direct order.

Some of the data about the Panama companies owned by Mr Schembri and Dr Mizzi were passed on to Magistrate Aaron Bugeja last year as part of the Egrant inquiry, whose main conclusions have now been published.

The magistrate concluded he could not find any documents linking the Prime Minister, his wife or his family to Egrant.

The inquiry failed to establish whether Mr Schembri and Dr Mizzi had secretly opened up bank accounts in Dubai.

According to e-mails in the Panama Papers leak, a Dubai shell firm called 17 Black was to wire millions of dollars to Mr Schembri’s and Dr Mizzi’s Panama companies via bank accounts they tried to open in the Bahamas.

The inquiry reported that Dubai failed to cooperate with the relative request for information.

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