Interdiction of Shanghai consul charged with money laundering, revoked by courts in 2005

Brother of Cabinet Secretary charged with money laundering, Aldo Cutajar, had obtained the revocation of his perpetual interdiction for fraud just months after his guilty admission in 2005

Aldo Cutajar (inset) has been charged with money laundering
Aldo Cutajar (inset) has been charged with money laundering

The brother of Malta’s top civil servant Mario Cutajar, who has been arraigned on money laundering charges, had his perpetual interdiction revoked by the courts just months after it was handed down to him in 2005.

According to the Government Gazette, the law courts revoked the perpetual interdiction against Aldo Cutajar in June 2005, merely months since he was given a suspended sentence for the misappropriation of funds entrusted to him by a government department.

Questions were raised over Cutajar’s reinstatement to the public service which allowed him to be posted to Beijing in 2016 and then appointed as consul-general to Shanghai in 2018, after news of his original 2005 conviction was published yesterday.

But in June 2005, Cutajar pleaded with a court to have the interdiction removed, citing his clean conduct, his early admission, and the fact that he had returned the funds (over €2,400). MaltaToday is unaware of Cutajar’s public service record; questions have been sent to the PPS and various ministries in whose employ he was.

Cutajar had told the courts that he was then father to two children aged nine and five, and “that due to financial problems, he had to sell his residential home” and had signed a new preliminary agreement for its sale that could not proceed with the interdiction. “This together with the fact that the applicant has no employment, that he has to support his family, is causing enormous pressure on him and his entire family… the perpetual interdiction shall make it very difficult for the applicant to find employment,” his lawyers had pleaded.

The Attorney General had opposed the demand “due to the nature of the case”, with the prosecutor highlighting the gravity of the case and the fact that Cutajar was a public officer.

Cutajar’s defence lawyers “showed the Court the precarious position of the application as regards the sale of the residential home of the applicant, on which final sale, the applicant cannot appear personally.”

The Court, presided by Magistrate Jacqueline Padovani, was of the opinion “that the accused has already paid dearly for what he did, in the sense that he has been inflicted a suspended sentence, he has outrightly lost his employment in the civil service, he has also lost his residential home, because he has entered into a preliminary agreement, and it appears that the extension of a perpetual interdiction, shall cause tremendous and completely disproportionate hardship on the entire family of the applicant, who is a married man with two young children.”

The Court said it was “necessary now for the accused to find a new job which in his young age, and with the damage that necessarily resulted to his reputation, is not easy. That furthermore, there is a real and imminent problem, regarding the sale of the residential property… with consequences which can be disastrous on the entire family of the accused.”

The Court upheld the request and reversed the perpetual interdiction of the accused.

Mario Cutajar, a career civil servant appointed to the post of Principal Permanent Secretary in 2013, has denied having had any role or being consulted over his brother’s role in Beijing and later in Shanghai, and that he has made himself available for questioning by police on his personal financial affairs. He will also recuse himself from disciplinary procedures to be taken by the Public Service Commission against his brother.

Aldo Cutajar was remanded in custody after being arraigned in court on Sunday and accused of money laundering charges. The police told the court that some €500,000 in cash had been found during a raid on his home on Saturday and there were between $300,000 and $400,000 in an account in his name in Dubai.