The Chief Minister was made aware she had a conflict of interest in an investigation of unlawful raids on properties allegedly linked to Roman Abramovich days after she called for it.
The Chief Minister ordered a review into the raids on 11 November last year, after it was found the wrong article of the Police Procedures and Evidence Law was used to apply for the warrants.
In the States sitting yesterday (18 April), Deputy Kristina Moore was questioned by Reform Jersey's Deputy Montfort Tadier on the progress of that review, specifically:
“Will the Chief Minister advise what progress had been made in respect of the independent review into the unlawful search of premises allegedly linked to Roman Abramovich (requested by her in November 2022) prior to the subsequent statement on 24th January 2023; when the decision to cancel this review was taken; and why it was cancelled given that she had advised it would not impact on-going legal proceedings?”
That's when Deputy Moore revealed that she was forced to step back because of a conflict of interest.
"I discovered that I had a conflict. I was not aware of that at the time of calling an independent investigation, therefore I had had to recuse myself and I have have had no further part in these discussions."
Pressed to provide details on the nature of the conflict, the Chief Minister said her husband's law firm had briefly acted for one of the parties involved in the legal proceedings last April.
Following that ruling, the government issued this statement:
"Having taken independent advice, the Government is satisfied that the Attorney General and the Chief of Police have reviewed the circumstances around how the operational error with the warrants arose and have agreed measures that have now been put in place to ensure that such an operational error concerning the application for warrants does not happen again."
It was not explicitly announced that the review had been scrapped, nor that the Chief Minister was conflicted and no longer involved.
Responding to questions from Channel 103 on 18 April, Deputy Kristina Moore told us:
"I learned about the conflict of interest on or about 15 November 2022 and immediately arranged for the matter to be dealt with by other Ministers (the Deputy Chief Minister and Treasury Minister).
The source of the information concerning the conflict is legally privileged and confidential but was not from my husband’s law firm. I cannot comment further for the reasons already explained in the States Assembly. This matter is the subject of current proceedings and a criminal investigation."
We have asked the government further questions about the status of the review, which we are told have been referred to Deputies Kirsten Morel and Ian Gorst. We await a response.