In a surprising twist of events, the US Attorney has asked the federal court in New York to drop the case against Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad after he was convicted on March 16 of 5 counts of bank fraud and sanctions busting that could have landed him a prison sentence of up to 85 years.

Ali Sadr was due for sentencing on 17 August.

The US Attorney Geoffrey Berman told the court he had decided to drop the case against Ali Sadr because of issues that arose during and before the March 2020 trial about the information in possession of the US government which was not disclosed to Ali Sadr’s defence team.

In view of this, the US government admitted today that if Ali Sadr had all the information that wasn’t disclosed, his defence strategy would have been different.

The US government said that the resources that would be required to address all these issues in order to proceed with the prosecution are not justified and “the Government has determined that it would not be in the interests of justice to further prosecute this case.”

Ali Sadr’s case was followed closely in Malta as he was being tried in the United States on crimes he committed before he was licensed to open Pilatus Bank here.

Pilatus Bank has been since shut down with the intervention of the European Central Bank but the bank’s directors are seeking legal action against the Malta Financial Services Centre for the bank’s closure.

Although Pilatus Bank was shuttered on suspicion of rampant money laundering, no charges have ever been issued by the Maltese authorities. It is not known if Malta’s attorney general will now consider seeking Ali Sadr’s extradition before his release is ordered by the US federal court.