The Maltese bank and the shadowy world of Iran sanctions busting

The day after a car bomb claimed the life of Maltese investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia, in October last year, one of the 47 libel suits against her was quietly dropped at a county court in the US.

Maltese private bank Pilatus Bank and its owner, Iran-born Seyed Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, known as Ali Sadr, had filed proceedings against Caruana Galizia earlier last year. The suit came after a series of stories published on her website that claimed Pilatus had laundered funds from allegedly corrupt schemes on behalf of offshore companies and individuals, including Keith Schembri, chief of staff to the Maltese prime minister, Joseph Muscat.

Based in part on the release of files in the Panama Papers, the stories culminated in the claim that Michelle Muscat, the prime minister’s wife, had received $1 million from the daughter of President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, with the money moving

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