Lawyer and legal blogger Jacques Rene Zammit (akkuza.com) commented on yesterday’s Panama Papers decision by Judge Giovanni Grixti. He was developing the argument on an excellent analysis by Twitterer BugM which gives more reasons why what has happened is so wrong.
The two remind the court that like murder, money laundering is a crime even if one fails in the attempt to commit it. If you are caught with a bloody knife which witnesses have seen you push inside the back of someone who doesn’t die as a result, you don’t walk away saying ‘I didn’t kill him’. And more to the point nor do the police tell the witnesses they must first prove the crime occurred and the judge ask the alleged perpetrator if he agrees an investigation should be had, before the incident is investigated.
Judge Grixti appears to have neglected altogether this simple fact. He actually turns on Simon Busuttil in his judgement for interpreting motivations of the Panama Gang.
It’s not technical. It’s not complicated. It’s like asking the witnesses in the illustrative hypothetical stabbing described above how it is they concluded that the guy who knifed the other guy actually meant to kill him.
Here’s how Jacques Rene Zammit sums it up:
The threshold to request a magistrate to safeguard evidence in attempted laundering which the Police won’t investigate is by virtue of Judge Giovanni Grixti’s judgment actually set higher than that required by the Police to secure a conviction for actual money laundering.