The Laundry Man by Kenneth Rijock ( Penguin/Random House UK)

Friday, August 7, 2020

MALTA PROMISES INDICTMENTS : TO LITTLE, TOO LATE, ON PILATUS BANK ?

Malta: EU's very own Banana Republic
The Police Commissioner of Malta, clearly responding to public pressure to take action against those who operated Pilatus Bank as a major money laundering center, has gone on record and stated that unspecified criminal charges, in an unspecified case, will be filed within the next thirty days. He deliberately failed to name Pilatus Bank, though most Malta watchers believe his intention was to give that impression. (We will be seriously disappointed if some other obscure case is named).

Four years after money laundering allegations first appeared against the bank, and a full two years after it was shut down, we are made to believe that Malta's law enforcement and regulatory community, is about to finally bring indictments. Unfortnately, it appears that whatever action does take place is only happening due to the imminent imposition of MONEYVAL sanctions, meaning any charges are politically motivated. Any of those charged may never go to trial, given Malta's abysmal record on important criminal cases, which often linger for years for no apparent reason other than corruption in the courts.

We also beleive that only minor players in Pilatus' operation will actually be indicted; the foreign nationals (read: directors) who supervised the movement of the proceeds of crime of corrupt Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) will most likely escape justice, as they could potentially roll over, meaning cooperate, on very senior former Maltese government officials that the local power scturcture is intent upon ignoring, lest they themselves expose certain individuals in the business community.

Look for minor participants in the Pilatus operation to be named, together with some of them already gone from Malta, or immune from criminal prosecution in countries where extradition is not probable. Don't expect miracles, expect only window dressing actions, as a feeble attempt at damage control at Europe's only Banana Republic.

Only significant indictments in the United States and/or the United Kingdom can save the day. Let's hope they come soon.

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