A United States jury has found the notorious owner of Pilatus Bank Ali Sadr Hasheminajad guilty on five counts in relation to funnelling more than US$115 million into the US financial system.
Ali Sadr was found guilty of conspiring to defraud the US, bank fraud, and breaching sanctions against Iran. However, he was not found guilty of money laundering.
He will remain under home detention with a GPS tracking ankle bracelet until his sentencing.
The COVID-19 coronavirus even reached this trial. One juror, who was feeling unwell, deliberated via facetime with the other jurors.
Sadr was arrested in the US in March 2018 and charged with money laundering and breaching US sanctions against Iran.
He violated US sanctions by routing payments from a Venezuelan state-owned energy company through banks in the United States to the Swiss accounts of entities owned by Sadr and his family.
Sad used a passport to acquire two shell companies, which were used to help funnel the money from a Venezuelan housing project. The funds moved from the companies to other Iranian nationals and entities.
Henley and Partners, Malta’s main concessionaire of the IIP scheme, were the ones who obtained a St Kitts & Nevis passport for Sadr in 2014, roughly the same period when Pilatus Bank set up shop in Malta.
Pilatus Bank and Sadr first entered the Maltese spotlight after journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia accused the bank of several crimes including money laundering, kickbacks to Maltese politicians, and massive transfers to members of the Azeri ruling elite.
Sadr hurriedly leaving Pilatus Bank carrying suitcases the same night the Egrant story broke will live long in memory. However, the inquiry into the case dismissed any wrongdoing.
The Iranian national was an exponent of SLAPP lawsuits, starting libel proceedings against Caruana Galizia in Arizona, to the tune of $40 million, which he dropped shortly after she was assassinated.
Henley and Partners have also engaged in SLAPP. Daphne Caruana Galizia had published an email exchange between former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his chief of staff Keith Schembri, Education Minister Owen Bonnici, the CEO of Malta’s sale of citizenship scheme Jonathan Cardona – and Kalin – discussing the issue with regard the journalist.