Nationalist MEP David Casa has claimed he has come about new evidence today, which proves Malta-based Pilatus Bank was intentionally set up as a money laundering vehicle.
“The conclusion that I draw from this information goes beyond Pilatus Bank merely flouting anti-money laundering codes,” he said. “The bank appears to have been conceived from the very start as an organisation designed to launder money, with banking staff instructed to fabricate paper trails justifying suspicious transactions after they have been carried out.”
Casa said he has been asked to pass on this new evidence to the European Central Bank, which is investigating Pilatus Bank following a request by the PN MEP. Casa is calling on the ECB to force the revocation of Pilatus Bank’s license and to take control of the bank itself.
Contacted by Lovin Malta, outgoing MFSA chief Joe Bannister refused to comment on Casa’s claims, arguing he is bound by professional secrecy.
A special delegation of MEPs, which included Casa himself, recently urged the ECB to investigate Pilatus Bank, as well as the Malta Financial Services Authority which had given it its banking license in the first place.
Pilatus Bank, which has been operating since 2014, hit the headlines last year when assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia reported it held accounts for the mysterious Panama company Egrant and for a Dubai company whose UBO is Leyla Aliyeva, daughter of Azerbaijan’s ruler Ilham Aliyev. According to the story, a declaration of trust that was kept hidden inside a safe in the bank’s kitchen showed Egrant belonged to the Prime Minister’s wife Michelle Muscat. The Muscats have denied the story as the “biggest lie in Maltese political history”.
At least one of Caruana Galizia’s sources came from within Pilatus Bank in the form of Russian whistleblower Maria Efimova, who has since fled Malta and claimed political asylum in an unspecified EU country.
LovinMalta has asked Pilatus Bank for comment.