Antoniella Gauci, the KMPG accountant who was brought over to Pilatus Bank by her good friend and colleague, bank MLRO Claude-Anne Sant Fournier, was known to adore both her boss, Chairman & owner Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad, and bank CEO, Iranian national Hamidreza Ghanbari. If you work in compliance, that is a recipe for disaster.
In truth and in fact according to bank staff, Gauci signaled that she was ready to do whatever senior management asked of her. When Sadr called upon his employees for a volunteer to assist him in spiriting original corporate documents out of the bank in the dead of night, Gauci was the only one who agreed to help him break the law.
As is well known from Daphne Caruana Galizia's articles, a media television crew, which had staked out the Pilatus Bank headquarters, after learning that there were light on at the bank in the middle of the night, Gauci was filmed, together with Sadr, removing files and records from the bank, and taking them with them. When intercepted In Fragrante Delicto ( caught red-handed), Gauci and Sadr refused to answer questions from media, and fled the scene, all the while being pursued by the journalist and cameraman. They departed in her automobile, according to witnesses.
Everyone in Malta has probably seen that video, which is still on Daphne's website. Gauci can clearly be identified when the light is focused upon her and Sadr during the filming. Daphne believed that Sadr and Gauci removed the Egrant files, together with corporate documents of companies belonging to Keith Schembri, as well as of Azeri PEPs who laundered funds stolen from government accounts in their country through Pilatus Bank.
The filing of criminal charges against Gauci, who was later promoted to Risk Manager by Sadr, has reportedly been recommended by the Magistrate. Some sources believe that she has what is known in Malta as "Protected Status." meaning that powerful politicians and businessmen have prevented her arrest. It is not known whether she is a target of the American or European investigations into money laundering in Malta.
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