The Malta Independent 30 November 2022, Wednesday
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Ex-Pilatus bank risk manager asks to intervene in Repubblika's nolle prosequi case

Thursday, 24 November 2022, 14:21 Last update: about 6 days ago
Photo: Mike Camilleri
Photo: Mike Camilleri

Pilatus Bank’s former risk manager, Antoniella Gauci has asked to be included as a party to Repubblika’s case against the Attorney General, over the failure to prosecute the bank’s top brass.

In the case, which is being heard by Mr. Justice Christian Falzon Scerri, Repubblika has alleged that in the Summer of last year, Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg had issued a nolle prosequi, (an order not to prosecute) Gauci a mere 4 months after the public prosecutor received a 600,000-page report relating to the inquiry into the bank, which recommended prosecuting a number of officials at the now-shuttered bank, one of them being Gauci.

In an application filed today by lawyer Roberto Montalto on Gauci’s behalf, the First Hall of the Civil Court was asked to admit her as a party to the proceedings.

Gauci said she had found out about the case from media reports.

“In truth, what Repubblika has requested is that the decision which had completely exonerated Gauci be declared null and without effect,” reads the application.

Her lawyer said that Gauci wished to contest the requests made by Repubblika in her regard, “and this because, in effect, the Attorney General’s decision not to prosecute her was a valid decision which merits confirmation having been taken in line with the principles of natural justice as well as after wide and in-depth investigations which reached the only valid conclusion in Gauci’s regard, that is, that no further action be taken against her.”

It was evident that Gauci had a clear juridical interest in these proceedings, said the lawyer, asking the court to allow her to intervene in the proceedings as a party.

How did we get here?

Three months after finalising the €7.5 million inquiry in December 2020, Magistrate Ian Farrugia issued international arrest warrants for Pilatus Bank owner Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, operations chief Luis Rivera, operations supervisor Mehmet Tasli, director Hamidreza Ghambari and chief risk officer Antoniella Gauci. 

Of those four, Gauci is the only one still in Malta, Tasli having left the island unmolested, despite the arrest warrant against him.

But in spite of the order, so far, criminal charges have only been filed against  Pilatus Bank as a financial entity and the bank’s former legal officer, Claude Anne Sant Fournier, both of whom are charged with money laundering. 

Repubblika has no issue with request

Repubblika President Robert Aquilina, in a Facebook post after the court sitting, said that Repubblika has 'no objection' if those people who were indicated in the Pilatus inquiry want to intervene in the case it filed in court. "We want the whole truth to become public. We want justice and know that the best justice is done in sunlight, with doors open. Naturally we will continue presenting our evidence."


 

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