Updated | Pilatus Bank challenges MEP David Casa to renounce immunity and face court proceedings

The Ta' Xbiex-based Pilatus Bank said that if PN MEP David Casa was so certain about his sources and accusations, he should have no difficulty in renouncing his 'political immunity' and face court proceedings 

Former Pilatus Bank employee Maria Efimova and PN MEP David Casa
Former Pilatus Bank employee Maria Efimova and PN MEP David Casa

Pilatus Bank has challenged Nationalist MEP David Casa to renounce his parliamentary immunity so that he can face proceedings in court.

In a statement, Pilatus Holding accused Casa of taking part in an “elaborate frame-up” attempt along with “declared fugitive” Maria Efimova.

“Now that the facts are established by the judiciary powers in Malta regarding Egrant Inc., Mr Casa can only show his good faith and live up to his ‘principles’ in his quest against Pilatus Bank by renouncing his political immunity, so that he can rightfully be pursued in the courts for the enormous damages he has caused the bank and many hard working people of Malta and their families,” read the statement.

It added that there was no reason Casa would not be willing to do so.

The company added: “After all, why would Mr Casa want to hang on so tightly to his immunity when he is so certain of the serious accusations he is making, and the credibility and reliability of his sources?"

The company said that Casa had written over 50 letters to various Financial Intelligence Units in which he alleged that there was evidence of systemic money laundering, that the bank’s clients were predominantly Azeri politically exposed persons, and that the bank was actively laundering money for top Maltese government officials.

It said that today, these conclusions by Casa have been proven to be “pure fabrications and strikingly different to the conclusive findings of the magisterial inquiry into Egrant Inc.

Pilatus Holding said the inquiry had “confirmed that no evidence was found to prove that Joseph Muscat, Michelle Muscat, Keith Schembri, Konrad MIzzi or John Dalli were involved in corruption, money laundering or suspicious transactions through the accounts of Politically Exposed Persons from Azerbaijan held with Pilatus Bank”.

It said the MEPs “second stunt” was to send a compliance report “dating back to two years ago” to the European Banking Authority, adding however that Casa had not mentioned that the FIAU had subsequently “established the facts”.

“It has since then retracted those statements and has deemed the matter closed,” said the company. “But more importantly, it has also become apparent how the FIAU compliance Report got the facts wrong during its first compliance visit since the entire report was certainly tainted by Maria Efimova’s fabrications.”

This, the company said, was why the report was written “vaguely with the wrong facts and perhaps intentions”.

The company said it had no doubt that Casa would “embrace and accept” this challenge since “anything less on his part is clear proof of his collaboration with the fugitive, Maria Efimova, and others behind the Egrant frame-up.

Threats will not stop me doing my work

Responding to the bank's statement, Casa said the bank's threats would not stop him from doing his work. He said the bank was echoing the Labour Party's calls for his prosecution for having "fought for truth and justice to prevail". 

"They are the ones that must be brought to justice," he said. 

Casa again said that "repeated FIAU reports have established that Pilatus Bank was the medium through which Keith Schembri and his associates laundered money", adding that multiple cases were the subject of ongoing magisterial inquiries. "This is not in question."

He said that bank's Azeri client list was also not in question. 

"Likewise, that Pilatus Bank has severely damaged our country's reputation is also not in doubt. So much so, that its license is currently being revoked," Casa said. "Until recently, Pilatus Bank operated in Malta with complete impunity, putting the financial sector and the  many livelihoods that depend on it at risk. 

He said that the assertion on the part of the bank, that the "part-published" inquiry clears Pilatus Bank of these revelations was "preposterous".

"That part-published inquiry had absolutely nothing to do with these revelations. This is part of a coordinated effort to deceive and mislead. It is dangerous and deplorable," Casa said. 

Casa confusing an invitation for a threat

In a subsequent reply to Casa, Pliatus Holding said that Casa was, "perhaps conveniently", confusing an invitation with a threat.

"Mr Casa is a fervent believer in justice and yet he needs to be reminded of one of its most basic principles - that the presumption of innocence applies to everyone not only to those he chooses to defend," the company said. "Mr Casa's words and media stunts cannot be taken seriously any longer."

It said that to save Casa "further public embarassment" the company was again extending its "open invitation" for Casa to take the "first step to repair the damages he has caused".

More in National