Police Commissioner 'categorically' denies cover-up claims on Pilatus nolle prosequi

Police will explain reasoning for not charging two Pilatus Bank officials in ongoing judicial proceedings where a nolle prosequi is being challenged

Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà
Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà

Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà has “categorically” denied allegations of wrongdoing in the case concerning the non-prosecution of two top Pilatus Bank officials.

He also denied being subjected to political pressure not to charge the officials.

“The Commissioner of Police categorically denies any allegation of wrongdoing or political pressure, and any decisions taken by the police force will be, and are effectively being explained in the respective fora, including in ongoing judicial proceedings,” a police spokesperson told MaltaToday.

Gafà was asked about the claims of a cover-up made by Repubblika President Robert Aquilina in his book, Pilatus: A Laundromat Bank in Europe.

Aquilina quoted an unnamed source saying that former bank officials Antoniella Gauci and her subaltern Mehmet Tasli were not charged because the former’s relatives were legal clients of the Prime Minister in the past.

The author also published internal police emails in which the nolle prosequi for Gauci and Tasli are discussed.

Gauci and Tasli were granted a nolle prosequi by the Attorney General despite a magistrate recommending that they be charged along with several other Pilatus officials.

The police spokesperson insisted the emails referred to in the media were exhibited by the police themselves during one of the judicial processes in which Aquilina is challenging the Attorney General’s decision to grant a nolle prosequi.

Police eventually charged the bank and money laundering reporting officer Claudanne Sant-Fournier with money laundering and other financial crimes. The case against the two is ongoing and they deny the charges.

Police have also issued international arrest warrants for other Pilatus Bank foreign officials indicated by the magistrate, including its owner Ali Sadr Hasheminejad.

Asked what is the state of the international arrest warrants, the police spokesperson replied: “You may even appreciate that any International/European Arrest warrants are executed in cooperation with foreign police counterparts.”

Pilatus Bank shut down in 2018 after its licence was withdrawn by the European Central Bank on instruction from the Malta Financial Services Authority. In 2021, the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit slapped the shuttered bank with a €4.9 million fine for letting millions in potentially shady cash flow into Malta unchecked.

READ ALSO: The wealthy clients of Pilatus Bank