The Malta Independent 19 March 2019, Tuesday

Pilatus Bank comments taken out of context, were referring to lack of evidence in court – President

Wednesday, 20 February 2019, 16:23 Last update: about 26 days ago

Comments made by President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca with regard to Pilatus Bank were taken “completely out of context to create sensationalism”, a statement issued by the President's office said today.

The statement was issued in response to reports over remarks that the President made last month at the Oxford Union debating society in the United Kingdom, which were published today, where she was asked about what Malta had learnt from the Pilatus Bank scandal – a question which she replied by saying that “there has never been legal proof of what Pilatus Bank was doing”.

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She said that there are investigations into the case which are currently ongoing and noted that Pilatus Bank itself had not been raised in the legal proceedings that the bank’s Iranian chairman Ali Sadr Hasheminejad in the United States.  She also said that Maltese authorities are doing all that was necessary as part of this case.

Making reference to how her speech had been reported, the President’s office clarified in a statement that the President’s remarks were “clearly referring to the evidence in court”.

“She told the audience that Pilatus Bank had been closed down by the Maltese authorities following the initiation of legal proceedings by the United States against the bank’s chairman, after it accused him of circumventing sanctions against Iran through his business activities in Venezuela”, the statement read. 

“The President further stated that she was not aware of any 'legal proof of what Pilatus Bank was doing', by which she was clearly referring to the evidence in court, since the case against the chairman in the US is still pending. Furthermore, no legal proceedings against the bank are underway in Malta”, it continued.

The statement ended in saying that it was “sad” to see that “certain individuals” had chosen to take the President’s comments out of context to create sensationalism when the “intended meaning of the President’s remarks were abundantly clear”.

Pilatus Bank had its licence revoked by the European Central Bank late last year, some months after it had been placed into administration when its chairman was arrested and two years after it had been flagged by the FIAU due to a number of shortcomings in its anti-money laundering provisions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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