Egrant belongs to the Labour Party said Dalli to Ferris

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Former police inspector and FIAU investigator Jonathan Ferris is expected to testify on Wednesday afternoon during another sitting in the public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

During the last sitting, former Police Commissioner Michael Cassar and former MFSA Chairman Joe Bannister testified in court. To date, the family of the slain journalist testified in the public inquiry, along with former Police Commissioners Ray Zammit, Peter Paul Zammit, Michael Cassar, among others.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Therese Comodini Cachia, Andrew Borg Cardona and Peter Caruana Galizia are appearing for the Caruana Galizia family.

15:59 Thank you for following the live blog. The next public inquiry sitting will be held on Monday 2.30pm.
Monique Agius
15:58 Judge Emeritus Michael Mallia asked about the compliance report on Pilatus Bank and whether it went to the police.

Ferris explained that on a compliance report, one can be fined and if certain breaches were found, an investigation was opened. However, the compliance report was no longer in force when the clean bill of health was issued.
Monique Agius
15:55 Judge Emeritus Michael Mallia asked whether during his tenure as a police inspector and FIAU investigator whether he ever suspected that Caruana Galizia's life was in danger.

Ferris said that Caruana Galizia had more knowledge then the FIAU. He said that such the CID would be more privy to such information rather than Economic Crimes Unit.

"Part of this blog should be included the report," Ferris recalled Gauci telling the FIAU. "That was her strength," Ferris said.
Monique Agius
15:53 Dr Borg Cardona asked whether Dalli has ever spoken to him about slain journalist Caruana Galizia.

Ferris said that once Dalli had referred to Daphne Caruana Galizia as a cyber terrorist.
Monique Agius
15:52 Before his job was terminated, they had various ongoing investigations, including the one on Satabank.
Monique Agius
15:49 Upon entering the courtroom, he found Ian Abdilla before Magistrate Aaron Bugeja.

Abdilla had asked him to confirm in toto what was there. He told the court, that he did not trust them and had compared his copy with Magistrate Bugeja's. He found many discrepancies, Ferris said.

Ferris then bumped into Abdilla at Jubilee where they had an argument, with him telling that he no longer trust them.
Monique Agius
15:38 Dr Borg Cardona asked about then Superintendent Ian Abdilla who used to head the Economic Crimes Unit. He was a liaison officer at the FIAU.

Ferris said that he then started suspecting that someone might have entered his office. The office he had at FIAU lacked security cameras. "I developed paranoia," Ferris told the board. This happened after Minister Scicluna had said that the reports were written to be leaked.

"At a family event, I started feeling the urge to go to the office," Ferris recalled. He then looked at the CCTV cameras remotely from his phone. He saw that Superintendent Ian Abdilla entering Zammit's office. "I was not there. I spotted Mizzi's file," Ferris said.

The next day he was summoned before the court and to take with him the last four pages from the report. He was stopped by another officer and told him not to take the whole file with him.

Ferris recalled turning round on the officer and asking him: "What would an idiot like you know?"
Monique Agius
15:27 "Hearnville, Tillgate, Rotura had featured in the report," Ferris said. "Egrant had not featured then."

"Willerby, Torbridge, Karl Cini, Brian Tonna, Mossack Fonesca," Ferris said.

"A point which was highlighted by the analyst, was a credit card transfer of 1c," Ferris said. Reading off from his notes, Ferris told the board: "Konrad Mizzi's presence in Montenegro two days after an agreement with the Government of Montenegro and the Maltese Government…" He added that there was a 1c transfer in which Mizzi used his personal credit card.

"This is usually done to verify a credit card," Ferris said.

Banks in Dubai, Bahamas, Miami and Panama refused to open Mizzi a bank account. Ferris said that the analyst found that €4,000 was offered to open a bank account on behalf of Mizzi in these jurisdictions.

The analyst had also found out that the attempts to open a bank account carried on until the Panama Papers scandal broke out.
Monique Agius
15:24 "The file was on Konrad Mizzi, but Karl Cini featured in the report," Ferris recalled.

"Brian Tonna featured because he was setting up similar structures," Ferris said.

"The issue of the €5,000 a month had featured. Mizzi's UK house had featured. His Sliema apartment and the mortgage had featured which could have never be placed in a trust since it was not paid up," Ferris explained.

"There were references to Montenegro," Ferris said.
Monique Agius
15:17 Ferris recalled asking if the termination had anything to do with the leaks. The FIAU had told him no. 'We're still seeking the reason,' Ferris said in reference to the ongoing employment tribunal proceedings.

The former FIAU investigator said that they had been working on Mizzi's financial structures. Report 168/2016 which prepared by an analyst was over 130 pages long. Ferris recalled that the day before the meeting scheduled to discuss the report on Mizzi, Kenneth Farrugia, Alfred Zammit and Ruth Gauci said that they had not read it.

Ferris said that his copy of the report was in the drawer in his desk at his office. The former FIAU investigator said he had received a call asking him to check an article which appeared on the Malta Independent concerning the LNG tanker.

Ferris recalled calling Kenneth Farrugia some thirteen times about it. They had agreed that if there were any leaks, they would file a police report. However, when he spoke to Kenneth Farrugia, the latter had told him that "he had different instructions now". Ferris told the board that he did not know who gave Farrugia the new set of instructions.
Monique Agius
15:11 "I want to be clear, I never met Daphne Caruana Galizia in person. It was on Saturday 29 April 2017. In the morning, I would go to the office to check emails, I received a WhatsApp message from Alfred Zammit asking if I was going to the Office," Ferris said.

Recalling the conversation with Zammit, the latter had insisted that Ferris would not go to the office due to a sensitive meeting taking place at the FIAU, which Ferris should not be present for. "I didn't go," Ferris said.

Later during the day, he received a phone call while he was at mass. "She said, 'hi it's Daphne'," Ferris recalled. He did not wait for mass to finish and left and called her back. The first call took some 45 minutes; it was a whole argument on Efimova. Ferris recalled receiving another call from Caruana Galizia when she called to apologize for the previous phone call.

"I would like to make it clear that Daphne never asked me for information. We used her blog as an open source," Ferris recalled.

Ferris told the board that he was not given a reason on why his job was being terminated. During his last days at the FIAU, they were working on Konrad Mizzi's financial structures.
Monique Agius
15:06 Asked by Dr Comodini Cachia about the report he had proof-read, Ferris said that it was sent to the police because there was reasonable suspicion.

In December, two analysts resigned.

"In view of the suspicious transaction reports that were coming in, we could not function well, we were understaffed" Ferris said, he recalled being asked to draft a setup for the unit to be able to function properly.

"What we want to know is whether the FIAU board has asked directly about the ongoing investigations?" Dr Comodini Cachia asked. "In April 2017, did the board asked anything in relation to Pilatus Bank?"

To the first question, he said that ongoing investigations would be discussed at the committee and decided by it.

Regarding Pilatus Bank, Ferris said: "I don't recall".
Monique Agius
14:58 Ferris said that before he saw the compliance report, he had got to know about the breaches from Ali Sadr himself. He then learnt of the clean bill of health with Deputy Director Alfred Zammit who was heading the FIAU after Galdes resigned.

Deputy Director Alfred Zammit signed the clean bill of health for Pilatus Bank after a KMPG audit.

Months earlier, a compliance report documenting breaches at Pilatus Bank which was signed by Manfred Galdes and Alfred Zammit and another FIAU official. A compliance report is not sent to the police.

'I said, don't you see that you are reducing to a pile of rubble what was investigated before?" Ferris recalled.

Ferris said that he would leave the analysts do their job.

On his second day on the job, Ferris was given a report on Keith Schembri and Adrian Hillman to sign. Ferris had told them that he would proof-read the report and then sign it.

"I'd said I'd review the English but I cannot say on my first day that I endorse the contents," Ferris recalled.


In March 2017, the report on Konrad Mizzi was ready by an FIAU analyst.
Monique Agius
14:51 Dr Azzopardi is referring to a compliance report on Pilatus Bank before Ferris joined the FIAU. Dr Comodini Cachia pointed out to Ferris that the Board and those present in the courtroom had no idea what he was speaking about. She asked him to explain slowly what had happened there. Dr Comodini Cachia said that the compliance report showed that there were shortcomings in Pilatus Bank, however, a clean bill of health was issued.

Ferris said that he had come across Pilatus Bank when he was still a police inspector, when a police report was filed against Maria Efimova. The case against Efimova was an allegation of misappropriation of a few thousands of euros, he explained.

He received the compliance report on Pilatus Bank on 21 April 2017, when he was already at the FIAU. He had received it after a blog post over €1 million transfer. "There was me, Ruth Gauci and Kenneth Farrugia," Ferris said.
Monique Agius
14:46 Ferris referred to a file, Red 126, where he had charges on Corbyn Klein, Elizabeth Jackson, Charles Jackson, Claire Gauci Borda who is John Dalli's daughter. The charges included fraud, falsifying documents and money laundering. He said that Red 126 went to Superintendent Ian Abdilla.

He said that Peter Paul Zammit had been in hot water because he had not acted on the Dalli case.

Dr Azzopardi said that Peter Paul Zammit's wife is first cousin with John Dalli. He pointed out that fourth degree relative means first cousin.

Ferris told the board that his FIAU secondment had been refused. He joined the FIAU on 1 November 2016.

"The first shock was that the password was common to all the systems," Ferris told the board.
Monique Agius
14:36 Ferris explained that having so much work he only had two sergeants and a constable working with him, one of them did not have a driving licence. 'To go out, you would need to go beg another department,'

Ferris recalled. Describing the police force as being on the decline, he said that for some time they were even without an assistant commissioner.

The former police inspector recalled having met Manfred Galdes who he knew since they were children. He recalled telling Galdes that he was not happy at the police force. Galdes had remarked that he would like to have an investigator like him. He was asked to send a CV.

While in Rome, he had met with then OLAF Director General Giovanni Kessler who had asked him whether he received a file which Kessler had sent him some two months earlier. Ferris had told him that he did not receive anything from Kessler if it was sent at the Police Headquarters. Kessler informed him that he had sent the file to the Attorney General's Office.

He explained that when he returned to Malta, he went to the Office of the Attorney General asking whether Dr Peter Grech if he had received the file. The file was on John Dalli. Grech initially told him that he did not receive the file. But after a brief search an unopened envelope was unearthed in his office. Ferris had suggested the Attorney General to forward it, still sealed to the police, which he did.
Monique Agius
14:31 Ferris recalled receiving an email from then Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela's secretary demanding a brief on the investigation. Ferris recalled telling them that he would not disclose any information about the investigation. A follow up email in which Abela was copied, saying that the then minister had asked for the information.

Ferris said that he then received an email from Superintendent Ian Abdilla urging him not to create "diplomatic incidents".

Ferris brought out a copy of the reply he had given to Abdilla, saying that the data protection act applied for "everybody including the minister". He added that information about ongoing investigations are not for public scrutiny.

Ferris quoted an article from the Police Act which gives him the right not to obey an illegitimate order.
Monique Agius
14:26 Dr Azzopardi asked about Dalli's investigation. He explained that he prosecuted against Silvio Zammit. Ferris said that he had sent for disgraced European Commissioner John Dalli a number of times.

He recalled sending for Dalli before his employment was terminated.

"I was seated with my hands crossed. Dalli had pulled me and told me, if you want to make some noise, Egrant belongs to the Malta Labour Party. It means election grant," Ferris explained. The former FIAU investigator said that at that time he had not given it weight.

Asked if he had disclosed this information during the Egrant inquest, Ferris replied in the affirmative. He explained that someone had leaked the information to MaltaToday recalling a particular article which was published in the local newspaper.
Monique Agius
14:16 Lawyer Jason Azzopardi starts examining the witness in a chronological order.

Jonathan Ferris became a police inspector in 2011. When he had applied, he was in possession of his first degree. He explained that he read for a masters and a diploma in policing after joining the police force.

When he was moved to the Economic Crimes during the time John Rizzo was police chief.

Ferris explained that on 13 April 2013, Rizzo was no longer a police commissioner and instead Peter Paul Zammit was appointed. Michael Cassar was then transferred to the Security Service.

"At that time I was investigating fuel smuggling," Ferris said. "To be honest I was scared, I was given another file."

Ferris recalled being called by then Police Commissioner Peter Paul Zammit had sent for him. He recalled seeing an email from Angelo Gafa on Zammit's iPhone 5.

"Everyone knew that Gafa's office had the biggest investigations: fuel smuggling, John Dalli's snus case, government officials," Ferris recalled. He pointed out that it never happened that a police inspector retained his office and got another office too.
Monique Agius
14:13 The police had spoken to him only then.

Asked about the meeting, Ferris explained that he was summoned to the director's office for a brainstorming session regarding Pilatus Bank. Ferris had been entrusted with coming up with a series of questions due to his expertise.

"Caruana Galizia's blog was used as an open source," Ferris told the Board. He said that he would frequently receive instructions to check different blog to include in reports.
Monique Agius
14:09 The board had downloaded the evidence Ferris gave during the magisterial inquest into the third Panamanian company, Egrant. Ferris was given some time to look at the documents. He confirmed that it was a copy of the evidence given before then Magistrate Aaron Bugeja. Judge Emeritus Michael Mallia referred to the conclusion reached by Bugeja in which he ordered an investigation. Ferris said that he was ordered to explain his findings and he did this on 8 August 2018.
Monique Agius
14:07 Former Police Inspector and FIAU investigator Jonathan Ferris was the first to be called to testify during today's proceedings.
Monique Agius
14:06 The Board of Inquiry entered the courtroom.
Monique Agius
14:00 Good afternoon, Newsbook.com.mt is live blogging from courtroom 20. Before entering into the courtroom, former police inspector and FIAU investigator Jonathan Ferris was spotted outside.
Monique Agius

Background

The public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia is set to continue on Thursday afternoon.

Former judge Michael Mallia is chairing the inquiry board, while Chief Justice Emeritus Joseph Said Pullicino and Judge Abigail Lofaro are the board’s other two members. The inquiry’s terms of reference stipulate that it must be concluded within nine months.

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