Pilatus Bank and former legal official charged with money laundering

Last Updated on Thursday, 2 September, 2021 at 2:58 pm by Andre Camilleri

Pilatus Bank and its former head of anti-money laundering compliance Claude-Anne Sant Fournier have been arraigned in court and charged with money laundering.

“Following the conclusion of a magisterial inquiry and police investigations from the Department of Financial Crimes Investigations, charges will be issued against a local bank as well as against a 41-year-old female resident from Sliema. These are expected to be brought before court under arrest at 1pm, before Magistrate Joseph Mifsud on charges related to money laundering.”ADVERTISEMENT

Dr Cinzia Azzopardi Alamango and Dr Marthese Grech will lead the prosecution from the Attorney General’s Office, assisted by inspector Claire Borg and Pauline Bonello. 

A magisterial inquiry that looked into potential wrongdoing by employees of the bank had concluded last December.

This week Pilatus Bank was fined €4,975,500 by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unity (FIAU) for a “serious and systemic failure” in following anti-money laundering laws. The Pilatus Bank had its license stripped by the European Central Bank back in 2018. The bank later shuttered.

The FIAU, in a notification on its website, said that the Supervisory Examination has identified very serious and systemic concerns with respect to the Bank’s ability to implement measures aimed at satisfying its AML/CFT legal obligations and in safeguarding its operations and the jurisdictions from possible ML/FT threats.

Asked about the Pilatus Bank fine, Prime Minister Robert Abela had said on Wednesday that this confirms that the institutions are working and doesn’t look at faces. “Regarding the question of criminal proceedings, the inquiry is there, the record of the proceedings is there and naturally the Police Commissioner and the Attorney General need to analyse that report. They are working independently and autonomously without any interference. They will continue to be encouraged to do their work and be given all the needed resources.”

Pilatus bank came under the spotlight after it was implicated in the Egrant affair. It was claimed that the bank had processed a $1 million payment from the Azerbaijan Aliyevs to former prime minister Joseph Muscat’s wife. The claim, however, was disproven in a magisterial inquiry. Another magisterial inquiry in which the bank was involved had also taken place regarding money paid by Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna to Keith Schembri.

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