[WATCH] Repubblika calls for immediate arraignment of top Pilatus Bank officials

Repubblika file formal police report asking the Police Commissioner to act on the international arrest warrants issued against Pilatus Bank officials that have not yet been executed

Repubblika President Robert Aquilina presenting the formal report to the police (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Repubblika President Robert Aquilina presenting the formal report to the police (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

NGO Repubblika has filed a formal police asking the investigative authorities to act upon the Pilatus Bank inquiry and arraign all the bank's top officials.

Repubblika President Robert Aquilina noted how the inquiry into Pilatus Bank, cost the tax payer some €7.5 million, adding that even though arrest warrants had been issued against former Pilatus officials, they were not arraigned. He was speaking to journalists outside police headquarters in Floriana just before filing the report.

Aquilina referred to a MaltaToday report that revealed how international arrest warrants against the Pilatus officials had not yet been executed, even though they were signed by a magistrate in March 2021.

“In simple terms, this means the arrest warrants have not been acted upon and have remained shelved by police. Individuals that have done so much damage to Malta, including the infamous Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, are still evading justice,” Aquilina said.

He emphasised the accusations are not minor and include money laundering. Aquilina said that lack of action from Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà, Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg and Deputy Police Commissioner Alexandra Mamo is a “mean act” against Maltese society.

“It is a pity that even when Commissioner Gafà has an inquiry of more than half a million pages in his hands […] we have to come here to put pressure on him to act,” Aquilina said.

Police have so far charged Pilatus Bank as a financial entity, and its former legal officer Claude Anna Sant Fournier. Both stand charged with money laundering. 

Repubblika called for the immediate arraignment of top Pilatus officials: operations supervisor Mehmet Tali, operations chief Rivera Luis Felipe, owner Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, director Ghambari Hamidreza and chief risk officer Antoniella Gauci.

“I remind them of their legal obligations to conduct investigations and prosecutions, independently of the ongoing inquiry,” Aquilina said.

Pilatus Bank was at the centre of money laundering allegations involving several people close to former prime minister Joseph Muscat's administration. It shut down in March 2018 after the European Central Bank and the Malta Financial Services Authority withdrew its licence when its owner was arrested in the US and charged with breaching sanctions against Iran.

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