Malta: Charges expected after Pilatus money-laundering probe
07 Dec 2020

Police are edging closer to prosecutions following lengthy investigations into money-laundering allegations at the now defunct Pilatus Bank.

Delays in the probe meant the initial target of arraigning several bank officials by the end of August was pushed back by several months.

Investigators are now combing over documents detailing suspicious transactions that were allowed to pass through Pilatus without adequate oversight by bank officials, as required by law.

Concerns about the bank’s anti-money laundering controls were first raised following a compliance visit by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) in 2016. The visit was triggered by the ratio of high-risk politically exposed persons on the bank’s client list.

Pilatus Bank managed to shoot down a highly critical FIAU report about its secretive operations and lack of anti-money laundering controls after producing documentation found to be missing during the compliance visit.

The FIAU’s handling of the situation led the European Banking Authority to conclude that the unit had failed to conduct effective supervision of the bank after its decision to close the case without imposing sanctions.

The bank’s operations were shut down in November 2018 following the arrest of the bank’s former chairman Ali Sadr in the US on sanction-busting and money-laundering charges.

By Jacob Borg, Times of Malta, 6 December 2020

Read more at Times of Malta

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