Police worked backward to justify AG’s order not to prosecute Pilatus official

Prime Minister was lawyer for the family of former Pilatus Bank risk manager Antoniella Gauci

 

Top brass at the police force worked backwards to justify what was already a foregone conclusion not to prosecute (nolle prosequi) former Pilatus Bank risk manager Antoniella Gauci, according to concrete information received by The Shift.

In addition, sources close to the investigation who spoke under condition of strict anonymity have informed The Shift that officers at the Financial Crimes Investigations Department (FCID) went to lengths, under instruction, to provide Gauci with a ‘get out of jail free’ card.

Gauci is known from footage showing her leaving Pilatus Bank with Ali Sadr Hasheminejad on the night that assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia reported damning findings. 

She is among those the Attorney General decided not to prosecute even though the magisterial inquiry into the bank named the individuals the police should charge.

Antoniella Gauci with Pilatus Bank owner Ali Sadr Hasheminejad leaving Pilatus Bank in April 2017. Footage: NET TV.

Rather than the police investigating and recommending a nolle prosequi based on findings, The Shift has confirmed from multiple sources that what happened instead was that investigators and prosecutors were instructed to find reasons to justify what appears to have been a pre-ordained conclusion not to prosecute Gauci, involving a team effort to provide Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg with the foundation she needed to issue the nolle prosequi in favour of Gauci and former Pilatus Bank operations supervisor Mehmet Tasli.

Gauci had infamously been called in to work late at night in April 2017 by Pilatus Bank owner Ali Sadr Hasheminejad on the night Daphne Caruana Galizia broke potentially incriminating allegations on her website.

The pair were caught exiting the bank’s premises in Ta’ Xbiex by NET Television journalists with luggage suspected to hold sensitive documentation hurriedly extracted from the bank’s premises.

Prime Minister was the Gauci family’s lawyer

The Gauci family, which owns the central Qormi Mike’s Service Station – specifically Antoniella’s father and brother – are well known in Qormi as staunch canvassers for the Labour Party and particularly for Robert Abela, who is now Prime Minister.

A court document showing Robert Abela appearing for the Gauci family.

Court records seen by The Shift show Abela has in the past served as the Gauci family’s lawyer in at least two cases between 2009 and 2015. Abela was elected to Parliament in 2017.

An extract from a court document showing Robert and Lydia Abela both appearing for the Gauci family.

NGO Repubblika has launched a court case challenging the police commissioner and the Attorney General over their inaction for having failed to arraign Pilatus Bank officials as recommended by an inquiry into the bank by Magistrate Ian Farrugia.

The group has also asked for a judicial review of the Attorney General’s still-unexplained decision to issue the nolle prosequi order four months after a 600,000-page report related to the inquiry into the bank, which recommended prosecuting several officials, one of them being Gauci.

Buttigieg was appointed Attorney General in September 2020 despite controversy over the fact that she had little to no experience in criminal law. Her appointment was made only some three months before Magistrate Farrugia’s inquiry was concluded and handed over in December 2020.

That case is being heard before Judge Christian Falzon Scerri.

Inquiring magistrate’s order to prosecute ignored

In court last month, Office of the Attorney General lawyer Kevin Valletta confirmed there are currently no proceedings being undertaken against either Gauci or Tasli and that the decision had been taken by the Attorney General in terms of Article 569(6) of the Criminal Code.

The Criminal Code stipulates that when a magistrate, following an inquiry, orders a person to be arraigned in court on charges, such as in Antoniella Gauci’s case, the magistrate orders a copy to be transmitted to the Commissioner of Police, who is to proceed accordingly.

But, according to the law, “in case of doubt, the Commissioner of Police may consult with the Attorney General who may direct that no proceedings are to be taken”.

The Attorney General may recommend other charges that differ from those specified by the inquiring magistrate, which has not happened in Gauci’s case, and the Attorney General can also reserve the right to direct otherwise if new evidence becomes available.

In that case, when the decision to prosecute is vested in the Attorney General, the decision may be challenged, which is what Repubblika is currently doing by requesting a judicial review before Judge Falzon Scerri.

                           
                           
                               
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Oliver
Oliver
11 days ago

Strangely enough, MFSA still considers Antoniella Gauci as fit and proper to work as Risk Manager in Malta. How come? Join the dots. She s being judged by Edwina Licari and Christopher Buttigieg. Is that a case of friends of friends?

Mark
Mark
11 days ago

Irridu nghidu li l-avukat attwali ta’ gauci hu roberto montalto li talab lill-Imhallef CFScerri biex ikun parti minn dil-kawza ta’ Repubblika… liema talba giet michuda.

Francis Said
Francis Said
11 days ago

Another act that proves that the rule of law, democracy and that the Independent Institutions are NOT working.
Castille still rules the waves!!!

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
11 days ago

The institutions are working by putting spokes in the wheels of justice.

viv
viv
10 days ago

I smell the overbearing stench of Joseph Muscat, just out of view.

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