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Malta Money-Laundering Whistleblower Asks Protection

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MALTA – 26 March – Blueprint Staff – A former anti-money laundering investigator on Malta, Jonathan Ferris, who says he has knowledge of massive wrongdoing, will sue to get whistleblower protection he said was deliberately blocked by the government with a scandal reaching Prime Minister’s Joseph Muscat’s office, The Times of Malta said.Ferris, fired last year a few days after Muscat’s re-election, also said the arrest of Pilatus Bank Chairman Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad in the United States will uncover a wide ring of money laundering in an explosive series of events that led to the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Ferris said he was sacked after he started looking into reports by Caruana Galizia, killed by a car bomb, that the Panama company Egrant, revealed in the Panama Papers, was owned by the Prime Minister’s wife, Michelle Muscat, who have denied any involvement in a burgeoning scandal that has caught the attention of the European Union.

Ferris said he was denied legal protection as a whistleblower following a reply to his judicial protest filed by Muscat, the Justice Minister, Attorney-General and the head of the External Whistleblower Unit – in Muscat’s office, The Shift reported.

Ferris had noted the “interminable saga” to grant him protection despite reassurances given by the Justice Minister to lawmakers that he would be protected, callling it “an abusive and illegal delay” that leaves him at risk.

He could otherwise face five years in jail if he reveals his investigations while working for the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU). His legal team said a top cadre of government officials in the country was stonewalling him but his lawyers said, “Ferris will not be stopping here,” with the EU watching closely now.

The External Whistleblower Unit said Ferris’ request would not be accepted because he had “failed to adhere to the dispositions of Protection of the Whistleblower Act,” without explaining what that meant.

Ferris claims he has information about corruption, abuse of power and money laundering over the last few years, still taking place and reaching “the very top,” with Muscat trying to fend off implications that he is linked.

Ferris told The Shift that Nejad’s arrest would show the extent of money-laundering in the country using the bank. Sadr, 38, was charged in a six-count indictment filed in a Manhattan court accusing him of participating in a scheme to evade US sanctions against Iran.

“I see this as the beginning of the end of a dark period that has engulfed our country, which has been abused and used by individuals for their own personal gain rather than the benefit of the people,” Ferris said of the arrest.

Caruana Galizia accused the bank of facilitating corrupt political activities and money laundering and was sued in return.

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