Casa ‘acting like tabloid journalist’ on Pilatus report, says Pullicino Orlando

Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando on the warpath: the Labour candidate has accused Nationalist MEP David Casa of “destabilising” the Maltese government using his influence inside the EP

Jeffrey Pulllicino Orlando
Jeffrey Pulllicino Orlando

The chairman of Malta’s science council has doubled down on accusations against Nationalist MEP David Casa over an FIAU report he presented to the European Central Bank.

Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, a former Nationalist MP who ran on the Labour ticket in the 2017 elections, said Casa was behaving like a “tabloid journalist” by teasing his audience for months on end with claims that he was feeding the ECB with excerpts of a report by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit.

“His behaviour in this, and other, instances is being widely regarded as an attempt at destabilising our democratically elected government by using his influence at a European level. The negative effect his shenanigans are having on our country’s institutions is devastating,” Pullicino Orlando said.

Nationalist MEP David Casa
Nationalist MEP David Casa

Last week Casa said he gave the ECB further evidence on the private bank Pilatus, which he claimed went beyond “merely flouting” anti-money laundering rules. The bank has featured heavily in allegations that it hosted bank accounts for Azerbaijani oligarchs, as well as for the prime minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri. Casa had called for the withdrawal of the bank’s licence through a complaint filed on 25 November last year. He also asked for the bank to be taken over by the ECB.

But Pullicino Orlando said that any allegations of corruption should be investigated by the police. “The following questions arise from [Casa’s] behaviour: Why hasn’t he passed these documents over to the competent authorities yet? Is Mr Casa aware of the fact that this delay is, in itself, illegal? It is a criminal offence to be in the possession of such documents. Does Mr Casa consider himself to be above the law? Has Mr Casa verified whether or not the author of this particular document was – as has been claimed - purposely drafting a document which was meant to be leaked?”

Pullicino Orlando said Casa should put his “charade” to an end.

“Suggesting  that voicing the thoughts of many is an attempt at intimidation is ludicrous – to say the least.  If Mr Casa really felt strongly about his loyalty towards his countrymen he would not be acting in a manner which is widely being considered to be the epitome of perfidiousness.”

In a reaction, Casa said the evidence of criminal activity was already in the public domain and the complacency and complicity of the institutions required a different approach.

“I will release the FIAU report when the expert analysis is completed. Not a second before. And definitely not because I am called on by a political appointee indebted to his political masters for his lucrative taxpayer-funded position. No threats of arrest will stop me from carrying out my duty. I will publish the conclusive FIAU report. And it will leave the Prime Minister with no option but to sack Konrad Mizzi.

“Now perhaps The Chairman of Malta Council of Science and Technology might consider at least pretending to dedicate some office hours to the role we pay him to be carrying out.”

The FIAU report, which the FIAU insists is an unfinished report, allegedly shows tourism minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri had taken kickbacks off the partial privatisation of Enemalta and the LNG power station contract through a Dubai company.

Casa has pledged to publish this report in a few weeks’ time, an action which could land him in trouble since the disclosure of FIAU investigations is punishable with five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to €116,468.

Casa has accused Pilatus Bank of having been “conceived from the very start as an organisation designed to launder money, with banking staff instructed to fabricate paper trails justifying suspicious transactions after they have been carried out.”

Pilatus Bank was drawn into the investigation of allegations that the Prime Minister's wife Michelle Muscat was the owner of a secret Panama company, Egrant, and that the bank had  processed a $1 million transaction into her account from Azerbaijan.

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