Friday, November 16, 2018

After Reporter's Murder: "Malta's Pilatus Bank has European licence withdrawn"

From The Guardian, November:

Bank had been accused by murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia of processing corrupt payments
A Maltese bank at the heart of a money-laundering investigation has had its licence withdrawn by the European Central Bank.

Pilatus Bank, which opened four years ago, was officially closed down several months after its Iranian chairman and owner, Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, was charged in the US in connection with money-laundering and fraud.

The bank had also been accused of processing corrupt payments to Maltese officials by the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed last year by a car bomb.

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), which regulates the country’s banking industry and granted Pilatus a licence in 2014, said the ECB had acted on its request to close the bank.

In a statement on Monday the MFSA said: “Further to the authority’s proposal to the ECB to withdraw the authorisation of Pilatus Bank as a credit institution, the ECB’s governing council has decided to withdraw the authorisation of Pilatus Bank with effect from today.”

The EU began an investigation into Malta’s regulation of the bank last year, following Caruana Galizia’s death, with the European Banking Authority (EBA) undertaking the inquiries.

Then in March, Sadr was arrested in the US on charges that he had violated the country’s sanctions and anti-money-laundering rules.

According to the indictment, filed in New York, Sadr participated in a scheme to illegally funnel $115m (£88m) in payments for a Venezuelan construction project to Iranian individuals and companies. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Straight after his arrest the MFSA took control of Pilatus, freezing all transactions for customers, and banning executives and shareholders from withdrawing any funds from the bank....MORE
Previously on Pilatus:
Who Killed Investigative Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia?
Malta, A Modern Smugglers’ Hideout"

And on Malta:
"Death in a Smugglers’ Paradise"
"Malta, A Modern Smugglers’ Hideout"