Pilatus Bank is represented by the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri’s lawyers. It is no surprise that their press releases echo precisely the Labour Party’s attempts to mislead, deceive and intimidate, the PN head of delegation MEP David Casa told The Shift.
Casa said he was not scared of any threats of legal action by Pilatus Holdings. If they thought that these would stop him, then they “shall be sorely disappointed,” he added.
“These coordinated threats will not stop me from doing my work. Malta’s financial sector will continue to suffer so long as the organs of State continue to be hijacked to protect Keith Schembri at the expense of the Maltese people,” he said.
Pilatus Bank Holdings – whose directors are bank owner Ali Sadr (arrested in the US on money laundering charges) and Hamidreza Ghanbani – is represented by DF Advocates.
Pilatus Holdings on Friday issued a statement saying that in light of the “the conclusive findings” of the magisterial inquiry into Egrant, “it is now clear and apparent that Casa has acted in an elaborate frame-up with a declared fugitive by the Courts of Malta, Maria Efimova”.
It challenged Casa to show “good faith” and “live up to his principles” by renouncing his political immunity to allow them to sue him in court for the “enormous damages he has caused to the Bank and many hard working people of Malta and their families”.
Pilatus Bank is in the process of being wound down after Ali Sadr’s arrest in the US.
The company pointed out that Casa wrote 50 letters to various financial intelligence units, saying there was “evidence of systemic money laundering by Pilatus Bank. Pilatus Bank’s clients are predominantly Azeri politically exposed persons. In addition, the bank has been shown to launder money derived from corruption for top Maltese government officials.”
Casa hit back, saying he was only “getting started” with the 50 letters.
Pilatus Bank’s owner facing a 125-year prison term in US for a ‘shopping list of crimes and currently undergoing the process to have its license revoked must have prejudiced the ‘bank’s’ ability to read’ – Casa
Having Pilatus Bank’s owner facing a 125-year prison term in United States for a “shopping list of crimes and currently undergoing the process to have its license revoked must have prejudiced the ‘bank’s’ ability to read,” he said.
“The assertion that the part-published inquiry cleared Pilatus Bank of these revelations is preposterous,” he said.
Casa pointed out that according to FIAU reports, Pilatus Bank laundered money for Schembri and his associates in the case of kickbacks on the sale of passports and the funds transferred by Schembri to former Allied Newspapers managing director Adrian Hillman.
That the bank’s client list is predominantly made of Azeri politically exposed persons and the use of dozens of anonymous companies to transfer funds and make investments in Europe is not in question.
The Egrant inquiry conclusions had absolutely nothing to do with the above, he said.
“This is part of a coordinated effort to deceive and mislead. It is dangerous and deplorable,” Casa added.
Pilatus Bank operated in Malta with complete impunity to the detriment of Malta’s financial sector and the many livelihoods that depend on it, he said in a statement.
The bank should have never been given a license to operate in Malta and should not have been allowed to continue to do so once “evidence of its involvement in criminal activity emerged,” he said.