Top officers who got Pilatus risk manager off the hook have all resigned

New evidence published by Repubblika President Robert Aquilina this morning in an explosive new book detailing the Pilatus Bank magisterial inquiry confirms The Shift’s report last January that top brass at the police force had worked backwards to justify a foregone conclusion to not prosecute former Pilatus Bank risk manager Antoniella Gauci.

Sources close to the investigation who spoke under condition of anonymity had informed The Shift that top officers at the Financial Crimes Investigations Department (FCID) had gone to great lengths, under specific instruction, to provide Gauci with a ‘get out of jail free’ card in the form of a little-used nolle prosequi order from the Office of the Attorney General.

Internal police correspondence published by Aquilina this morning shows how police investigators and prosecutors were instructed to find reasons to justify the pre-ordained conclusion to issue an order not to prosecute Gauci rather than looking into the feasibility of issuing such an order.

New evidence in the form of emails, which Aquilina transcribed to protect his sources, shows how far the top brass went to provide Gauci with a ‘get of jail free card’.

He also names the five top officers involved, all of whom have since left the force for reasons publicly unknown.

Deputy Police Commissioner Alexandra Mamo, who was also the head of the Financial Crime and Investigation Department, suddenly resigned from the Force in November 2022 after 32 years of service.

Superintendent Frank Tabone, the head of the anti-money laundering unit, resigned last August to take up a legal career. He was replaced by Sandro Camilleri, former president of the police officers’ union.

Inspector Keith Vella left the force in July 2022.

Pilatus Bank case prosecutor Inspector Pauline Bonello also resigned while her co-prosecutor, Inspector Claire Borg, went on extended leave.

‘Make sure it reaches my desk tomorrow’

All five were roped into what has now been shown to have been very much a team effort on the part of the police 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.

A nolle prosequi order for Tasli was deemed necessary, according to Aquilina’s book – Pilatus: A Laundromat Bank in Europe – for Gauci to also be freed of charges.

And it seems the course of action was to be taken at all costs.

Correspondence sent on 13 July 2021 includes a ‘High’ importance email from then-anti-money laundering squad Inspector Keith Vella to colleagues asking them to “come up with a few points on the nolle prosequi of Antoniella Gauci” because the police needed to have a “clear picture” by the week’s end.

By 10 August 2021, matters had escalated. Then-Deputy Police Commissioner Alexandra Mamo, also the head of the Financial Crime and Investigation Department, was by that time showing no small measure of urgency.

She wrote to colleagues involved in the joint effort, instructing them that reasons for the nolle prosequi had to be found post haste because “The report has to reach the Attorney General’s Office by tomorrow since the Criminal Inquest will be remitted to the Office of the Attorney General today and there is a lengthy protocol to obtain the nolle prosequi”.

Police Superintendent Frank Tabone was also instructed by Deputy Commissioner Mamo to “make sure it reaches my desk tomorrow so I will transmit it to the Attorney General”.

“Thank you is an understatement,” she wrote.

“There wasn’t just the intent not to prosecute them or to delay pending further investigation and possibly more evidence coming to light,” Aquilina writes. “No! They were given a declaration personally signed by the Attorney General that they would not be prosecuted.

“Why would the Police Commissioner and the Attorney general go so far out of their way and risk exposing themselves to harsh criticism to effectively give immunity from prosecution to two persons, in blatant contradiction of the clear direction they had received from the Inquiring Magistrate [Ian Farrugia] to prosecute?”

Gauci, Ali Sadr and Egrant

Gauci herself 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 concerning Egrant – a mysterious third Panamanian company whose ownership has never been proven that was set up in tandem with those of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri.

The pair were caught exiting the bank’s premises in Ta’ Xbiex by NET Television journalists with luggage in hand that purportedly held sensitive documentation hurriedly extracted from the bank’s premises.

Antoniella Gauci with Pilatus Bank owner Ali Sadr Hasheminejad leaving Pilatus Bank in April 2017 with bags bulging with purported incriminating documentation.

Hasheminejad immediately whisked them off onto a private jet bound for Baku, Azerbaijan, while then-police commissioner Laurence Cutajar was busy enjoying a fenkata in Mġarr.

That, however, may not be the main motivation behind a reticence from the powers-that-be to see Gauci prosecuted.

The motivation behind the manoeuvres at the FCID could, as reported by The Shift last January and reconfirmed by Aquilina’s sources for his book, could very well be Gauci’s family’s close political ties with Prime Minister Robert Abela, who, The Shift has shown, also represented them in court proceedings.

Prime Minister was the Gauci family’s lawyer

It seems the personal political interest of Prime Minister Robert Abela may also be throwing spokes in the wheels of attempts to have Gauci prosecuted in court.

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

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.

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

Aquilina said the close ties could have been a motivation behind Gauci’s nolle prosequi.

But, he also opines in his 700-page plus book, “An alternative explanation would be the possibility that Gauci is in possession of information, such as evidence in respect of Egrant that, if made public, or brought the attention of upright police officers, would throw present of former politicians in hot water.”

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

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.

Repubblika has also asked for a judicial review of the AG’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 a number of officials, one of them being Gauci.

That case is being heard before Judge Christian Falzon Scerri.


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1 month ago

It would be very interesting to find out if these who resigned were rewarded with a well paid job by friends of friends or a government job or receiving direct orders from some minister. May they have gone to Dubai to enjoy their rewards..

1 month ago
Reply to  makjavel

They more than likely resigned with a large brown envelope stuffed into their back pockets!

Carmelo Borg
1 month ago

L ewwel cans IRRID nixtri Dan il famus ktieb. Jista xi HADD jghidli min fejn?

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
1 month ago
Reply to  Carmelo Borg

Go online and on Google type Pilatus book by Robert Aquilina.
Alternatively type ‘Medsea Publications – Pilatus.

1 month ago

The FIAU’s Alfred Zammit signed off a clean bill of health to Pilatus Bank in September 2016. Instead of being investigated, he has been promoted to Acting Head at FIAU. What a scandal within a scandal. Disgusting.

1 month ago
Reply to  Randolph

the plot keeps getting thicker and thicker….

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
1 month ago

It is imperative for the Opposition to ask parliament to discuss the untenable position of the AG urgently, including the state of failure in which the police force has moved to, knowingly rather than unwittingly. ACTION NOW. Do not stop until the AG steps down and this office dismantled to be built from scratch.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
1 month ago

We need to take it to the streets like the French did.

1 month ago

No institution in Malta is impartial, everything is run by politics courts, AG, standard commissionaire, internal affairs,police you name it they have their fingers in all the pies. We need a new political party of intellectual people who are not brain washed or motivated by greed, people who actually have morals and were taught basic decency like right from wrong

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