Charges against Ali Sadr dropped in the US; Daphne Foundation calls for extradition

Ali sadr

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation is calling for Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad to be extradited to Malta after charges against him were dropped in the United States.

In a press release published late yesterday evening, the Foundation said that the fact that the Pilatus Bank Director had been prosecuted in the US indicates that he was charged on the basis of evidence of money laundering. The case against him was dropped because of a question of technicality.

The Foundation insisted that this does not change the evidence that there is against him. The state of the procedures in the US should not exempt him or prevent the Police Force or the Attorney General from prosecuting him locally, wrote the Foundation.

In March, the 40-year-old Iranian banker was found guilty of helping to funnel $115 million to Iranian entities through the American financial system, via a construction project taking place in Venezuela. US prosecutors accused Sadr of founding a network of companies and bank accounts to hide the involvement of his father, Director of Stratus Group, the conglomerate of industrial companies in Iran and one of the world’s most successful businessmen.

On Friday prosecutors asked the judge permission to drop the case citing the likelihood of continued litigation over suppression of evidence. They argued that pursuing the case would not be in the interest of justice, given the resources required to address all the evidentiary issues.

Sadr’s lawyer called this an “extraordinary motion” coming from the US government, Bloomberg reports.

The press release by the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation states that it is now more important than ever that Sadr be prosecuted in Malta, “since he has destroyed Malta’s reputation in the process of using the country as a base for facilitating criminal activity, via Pilatus Bank. For this reason, the Government of Malta must request his extradition immediately.”

Partit Nazzjonalista endorses call for extradition

Partit Nazzjonalista has endorsed the call made by the Caruana Galizia family for Ali Sadr Hasheminejad to be extradited to Malta. The Opposition noted that during the criminal proceedings before the US court it emerged that Sadr Hasheminejad had used illicit gains to set up the bank in Malta.

In a statement signed by Opposition spokesperson for justice Jason Azzopardi and Opposition spokesperson for good governance Karol Aquilina, the PN reminded that according to a report by the financial watchdog, FIAU, disgraced former chief of staff Keith Schembri had taken a particular interest to ensure that the bank was licensed in Malta. Schembri also had an account with the bank.

The licensing of the bank also damaged the country’s reputation putting at risk thousands of jobs in the financial sector, the Opposition said.

The Opposition underlined that Sadr Hasheminejad should not be allowed to escape justice.

Rule of law NGO, Repubblika also joined in the call for extradition.