[WATCH] White-collar crime in Malta ‘underreported, underestimated and often tolerated’

[WATCH] White-collar crime in Malta ‘underreported, underestimated and often tolerated’

European Chief Prosecutor Laura Kovesi has complained that the level of crime detection in Malta linked to the EU budget is virtually nil.

She revealed that of the 2,200 reports received by mid-October from across the EU, the EPPO had only received two reports from Malta, which did not lead to any investigation, as the cases did not fall within of his authority.

“We cannot rely solely on investigative journalists to detect crimes, so the help of national authorities is crucial. National authorities have a duty to inform us of any criminal behavior affecting EU funds. Since June 1, we have started receiving complaints from individuals, entities and companies related to such abuses,” Kovesi said.

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office was created to investigate serious crimes affecting the EU budget and its disbursement of funds, including corruption and organized crime.

“I don’t think Malta is a clean country in terms of how it uses EU funds, although I don’t think a clean country exists,” Kovesi stressed.

“The bottom line is that without action, there can be no investigations, prosecutions and judgments. We should not rely solely on investigative journalists.

Kovesi visited the National Audit Office, the Commissioner of Police, the Attorney General as well as the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit.

“White collar crime is underreported, underestimated and often tolerated. We are not a foreign institution and are at the service of the citizen. We are here for you and we want to earn your trust. If Maltese citizens become aware of a crime or abuse, they can report it on the EPPO website”.

“The main concern with Malta is to understand who detects the crime. It was a bit difficult for us to understand who is responsible because the institutions referred to each other. We understand that Malta is a small country, but that’s no excuse.

Elizabeth J. Harless