Pilatus Bank magisterial inquiry cost €7.5 million

Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis reveals magisterial inquiry into Pilatus Bank cost taxpayers €7.5 million

Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said the inquiry into Pilatus Bank cost €7.5 million.

Zammit Lewis was replying to a parliamentary question put forward by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi.

The bank’s details were not divulged in the justice minister’s reply, but he confirmed that he was referring to Pilatus Bank in a Facebook post.

The inquiry was concluded in December, having been led by Magistrate Ian Farrugia. Its conclusions are yet to be published.

The inquiry had been launched in November 2018, just days before the bank was shut down by the European Central Bank (ECB).

The bank’s administrator, Lawrence Connell, noted in a report tabled in parliament how a few days before the ECB revoked its license, a magisterial inquiry started and access to Pilatus Bank’s premises and systems was restricted.

Lawrence Connell was made bank administrator after former chairman Ali Sadr was arrested in the United States over sanction-busting and money laundering.

Early in March, the bank also lost an EU Court appeal to nullify an email from the European Central Bank, delegating certain decisions on the suspension of its banking licence, to the Maltese financial regulator.

Pilatus has filed a host of cases in the EU Court to challenge the suspension its banking licence in the beginning of 2018, after its owner and chairman Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, was deemed not fit and competent to run the bank.