A fresh magisterial inquiry is underway into Pilatus Bank, which was shut down by the European Central Bank last November after having been implicated in alleged money laundering.
The inquiry is being led by Magistrate Ian Farrugia, the same magistrate who had ruled in favour of an inquiry into money laundering allegations involving Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri after they featured in Panama Papers.
Sources said the new inquiry began in the last quarter of 2018 and is nowhere near completion.
Pilatus Bank, which had threatened various Maltese media organisations (including Lovin Malta) with ruinous law suits for reporting the allegations made against the Ta’ Xbiex, had also sued the Malta Financial Services Authority for instituting punitive measures.
Questions sent by Lovin Malta have not yet been answered by the police. Asked whether an inquiry is underway, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici told Lovin Malta: “As Minister of Justice I am not made aware of what pending inquiries there may be.”
Pilatus chairman Ali Sadr Hasheminajad was last March arrested for allegedly breaching sanctions in the US.
The bank was at the centre of various inquires so far, including the infamous Egrant inquiry which found no evidence that the Prime Minister or his wife held any Pilatus accounts as had been alleged by the now-assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Pilatus Bank was back in the headlines last month when outgoing President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca told an Oxford Union audience that there has “never been legal proof” of wrongdoing by the bank.