US Prosecutors have been ordered to briefly pause from sifting through tens of thousands of emails from accounts belonging to Ali Sadr Hasheminejad. The pause, expected to last three weeks, is required so that emails to and from Ali Sadr’s wives and lawyers are properly filtered out.

The order by Judge Andrew Carter of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York was issued two days ago in response to a request from Ali Sadr’s lawyers who say the prosecution has wrongful access to emails that are considered “privileged” under US law.

Correspondence with his wives or with his lawyers should not be seen by prosecutors. Emails and correspondence have been lifted by US investigators since as far back as 2014 around the time Pilatus Bank was being set up in Malta.

Because of “privileged” communications rules, prosecutors set up an arm’s length team to remove correspondence with Ali Sadr’s wife and his lawyers before the prosecuting team could review the documentation. 

However, Ali Sadr’s defence team has alleged that not all privileged correspondence has been removed. Procedures require the prosecution to share with the defence all evidence in its possession in a process called “discovery” ahead of a trial which in Ali Sadr’s case is scheduled for May next year.

The defence team complained that some 44,000 documents were not electronically searchable and they have seen what they argue is privileged communication used by the prosecution, in some cases even quoted in the indictment the prosecution filed against Ali Sadr.

On the defence team’s request, the court has ordered prosecutors to take a 3-week break while IT employees review the documentation and filter out any privileged communication.

This exchange reveals that US Federal prosecutors are likely to be in possession of Ali Sadr’s email communication during the years of Pilatus Bank including the time of the Egrant revelations right up to the lawsuit Ali Sadr filed against Daphne Caruana Galizia in Arizona.

It is not known whether the unpublished Egrant inquiry by Magistrate Aaron Bugeja in Malta has obtained this communication from US Federal Prosecutors and reviewed this correspondence before reaching its conclusions.

Nor is it known whether Maltese prosecutors and police have obtained copies of the correspondence secured by their US colleagues to verify whether any crimes were committed in Malta under Maltese law.