The police go after the small fry while protecting the gangland sharks at the Auberge de Castille

Published: July 7, 2017 at 3:36pm

A 60-year-old clerk at Identity Malta’s passports office has has been arrested and indicted on charges of taking money in the course of his work.

The police told the press that they don’t know how much he took, but it “could be more than €20,000”. Gosh, as much as that?

Meanwhile, I hasten to remind you that these are the very same police who sat on, concealed and ignored the results of an investigation by Malta’s official anti-money-laundering state investigators, the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, which told them that Keith Schembri, the prime minister’s chief of staff, had taken a sizeable cut from Brian Tonna, the corrupt accountant who helps the gangland sharks at the Auberge de Castille to launder money through a complicated arrangement of (no longer) secret offshore companies, on the sale of Maltese citizenship to Russians.

The transactions were made through Pilatus Bank, the washing-machine set up by an Iranian in his 30s, who travels on a St Kitts & Nevis passport, with Iranian money via Hong Kong and licensed by Muscat’s government.

That Identity Malta clerk probably thought that if the bosses were doing it, then he could too. What he didn’t count on is that the bosses now need some examples to show how serious they are and how they are clamping down on abuse – but only selectively and certainly not on themselves.

It’s a shame that ‘nobody’ clerk wasn’t Neville Gafa, who lives in Konrad Mizzi’s and Keith Schembri’s trouser-pocket, and who was neither arrested nor arraigned despite serious allegations about how he took money to process visas for Libyans for hospital treatment. And it’s a shame, too, that he isn’t the Prime Minister’s cousin, Robert Falzon, who issued EU Schengen visas to 7,000 Algerians in just a few months when he was Malta’s consul in Algiers, with the Prime Minister posturing about ‘abuse’ only after the scandal broke internationally.

So if you’re a small fish in Malta, then watch out, sucker. If you’re a Kentucky Fried Chicken employee caught with his hand in the till, they’ll jail you for four years for money-laundering and confiscate your house. If you’re a government clerk who takes €20,000 from their fishy passport fund, you’re crucified by the police and all over the media.

But if you’re the Prime Minister’s chief of staff who the state’s own anti-money-laundering investigators have said is involved in laundering millions of euros, then you get to walk up Merchants Street past the cheering crowds behind barriers, to your office at the Auberge de Castille, two days after the country has voted you back into power again and safe in the knowledge that the police won’t touch you until the Nationalists are voted back into power.

And so you make sure that the Nationalists are not voted back into power.

While a KFC employee is imprisoned for four years for ‘money-laundering’, and a passports office clerk is arrested and arraigned for taking 20,000 euros, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff scuttles freely about with his offshore companies, his secret bank accounts, and his money-laundering transactions that were investigated by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit.