22 Nov 2018
A tale of drug money laundering spanning from the crowded streets of Casablanca to the pristine shores of Lac Leman, Geneva, has finally come to its conclusion in the courts in Paris – and an epilogue yet to play out in French prison.
The story begins almost a decade earlier in 2009 when Ernest Sasson, a well-known Genevan banker, handed over the reins of his wealth management firm GPF SA to his son-in-law Meyer El Maleh.
GPF SA had a long history of operating in offshore jurisdictions, including links to 94 entities exposed in the Panama Papers, while Ernest Sasson and Meyer El Maleh themselves are listed as officers in literally hundreds of companies, primarily in Panama.
According to a former GPF employee, the role of GPF was to ‘give the appearance of legality to funds which we knew had illegal origins.’
El Maleh’s brothers Nessim and Mardoche were involved in GPF’s work, and Nessim El Maleh was also a director for HSBC Private Banking Suisse in Geneva.
This cosy family business came undone, however, after connections between El Maleh and his brothers to cannabis trafficking from Morocco were exposed by French police in 2012.
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