The US trial of notorious Pilatus Bank Chairman Ali Sadr Hasheminajad on charges of money laundering and sanctions violation will continue, after a court rejected seven pretrial motions to have the case dismissed.
Sadr was arrested in the US in March 2018 and charged with money laundering and breaching US sanctions against Iran by funnelling more than US$115 million into the US financial system.
He is alleged to have violated US sanction 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
Sadr’s pretrial motions, which varied on various legal aspects of the case, argued that the claims were baseless, claiming that he never exported any services to Iran and thusly never violated any sanctions.
In each of the motions, the court dismissed the claim.
Pilatus Bank and Sadr first entered the Maltese spotlight after journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia accused the bank of a number of crimes including money laundering, kickbacks to Maltese politicians, and large 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.
An MFSA-FIAU investigation into Pilatus Bank was started once he was arrested in 2018. The report has been submitted to the police for further questioning.
Previous reports by the FIAU on Pilatus Bank went un-prosecuted by police, with leaked documents the only official information the public has on the bank’s operations.