David Casa wants British authorities to act fast on Pilatus’s London branch

Nationalist MEP David Casa calls on the UK to seize and preserve evidence at Pilatus Bank’s London branch after chairman’s arrest in US • Democratic Party urges financial services regulator to act swiftly and carry out onsite inspections at Ta’ Xbiex office

Pilatus Bank in Ta' Xbiex
Pilatus Bank in Ta' Xbiex

Nationalist Party MEP David Casa has called on British authorities to “immediately step in to seize and preserve evidence” at the Pilatus Bank branch in London.

The call follows the latest developments in the US, where Pilatus Bank chairman, Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, was arrested over his alleged involvement in breaking US sanctions on Iran.

The sanctions case so far has not implicated the Malta-registered Pilatus Bank.

Read also this explainer: Why has Malta’s Pilatus Bank chairman Ali Sadr been arrested in the United States?

Casa had written to the UK’s National Crime Agency last week calling for a criminal investigation into Pilatus Bank over allegations of money laundering.

However, in a fresh letter today, Casa is calling on the British investigators to move quick on the bank and preserve evidence of its “involvement in criminal activity”.

The MEP had also asked the British financial services regulator, the Prudential Regulatory Authority, to investigate the circumstances under which the bank was set up and operates a branch in London.

PD says MFSA must act swift

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has called on the Malta Financial Services Authority to act swiftly and take all measures to ensure Malta’s credibility is not tainted.

PD MP Godfrey Farrugia said the latest news from the US was of “deep concern” even if publicly available information does not appear to implicate Pilatus Bank.

However, Farrugia noted that the transactions that broke US sanctions were made via Switzerland and Pilatus Bank’s holding company is domiciled there.

“We also note that the risk of involvement is indeed present given the past deficiencies of the bank and that of its chairperson is Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad. It does not need much to conclude that if a chairman of a bank is alleged to be crooked, it is very likely any organisation he leads may be used as a vehicle for criminal activity,” PD said.

The party urged the MFSA to use its power and act on the basis of the international arrest. “The MFSA should unilaterally perform on-site inspections which can lead to suspension of the bank’s licence,” Farrugia said, adding the party was concerned on the apparent lack of due diligence on Pilatus when it applied for a Malta licence in 2013.

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