Pilatus Bank was set up in Malta in 2014 to launder money for embezzling tyrants and tax evaders. When Daphne Caruana Galizia exposed them, they sued her for $40 million. They threatened every newsroom in Malta who dared write about them. Until the European Banking Agency shut them down.
And yet, those responsible, have never been brought to justice. We think it’s because if the Pilatus Gang goes down, they’ll bring the Maltese politicians who helped them down with them. We are challenging the decisions of the Maltese authorities to let the Pilatus Gang get away with it. It’s a long and complex court battle. And it costs a lot of money.
A magisterial inquiry into the Pilatus Bank affair was completed nearly two years ago. The public paid almost €8 million to get it done. The Magistrate ordered arrests and prosecutions and the re-opening of the Egrant inquiry that tried and failed to confirm whether Joseph Muscat received bribes through Pilatus Bank.
Months went by and the police and the attorney general ignored most of what the inquiry had told them to do. Arrest warrants were allowed to gather dust. In one case, one of the persons identified for prosecution by the Magistrate came to Malta and met prosecutors in court. He was allowed to leave undisturbed.
We have taken the police and the attorney general to court to challenge their decisions to allow the Pilatus Gang to get away with it.
We’ve faced some tough hurdles. In one case, our complaint was assigned for a decision by Magistrate Nadine Lia. Her father-in-law was Joseph Muscat’s lawyer in the Egrant affair. She could never give us a fair hearing.
We tried and so far, failed to get a court to confirm that we even have a right to a fair hearing. Our next step on that front will be to go to the Appeals Court and argue what to us seems obvious: if we have a legal right to complain to a court, surely, we have the right to complain to an impartial judge.
We admit we’re a long way away from forcing the prosecution of the Pilatus Gang and its ringleader Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad. But we’re closer than he’d want us to be. We’re closer than the police and the attorney general want us to be.
We get help from lawyers working pro bono and volunteers doing research. But we still need to pay the hefty court fees to fight this battle.
Repubblika needs your help.
We can’t do this without you. We don’t just want justice on the Pilatus Gang because we don’t like them. Their crimes have hurt Malta’s reputation. They have bullied and intimidated journalists who worked on exposing them. They have handled the accounts of people like Keith Schembri making sure that having friends in high places would let them use our country as a vehicle for their crimes with impunity.
You too deserve justice. You too deserve to have our institutions work for you rather than for criminals. If we leave it up to the police and the attorney general, you’ll never see justice.