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MALTATODAY 6 November 2022

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2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 6 NOVEMBER 2022 NEWS MATTHEW VELLA THE CEO of the Malta Phil- harmonic Orchestra has been charged with suborning witness- es from giving information in an alleged criminal act, and of tam- pering with evidence. Sigmund Mifsud, 49, (pic- tured) was remanded in cus- tody, after being charged with having carried out moral or psy- chological violence by suborning others, chiefly the victim of sex- ual harassment, from testifying on the crime. Mifsud has been suspended on half-pay, with immediate effect. Pjazza Teatru Rjal CEO, Maes- tro Chris Muscat, has been ap- pointed as acting-CEO of the MPO. Mifsud is a former Labour Par- ty candidate. The case concerns a senior of- ficial at the national orchestra, who last week admitted to charg- es of sexual harassment against a female member of the orchestra. The victim had to resign after Mifsud failed to act on her re- ports. The senior official at the MPO was placed under a restraining order, as well as a suspended sen- tence, after admitting to having sexually harassed the young fe- male orchestra musician over a span of more than three years. The 31-year-old Gozitan man, whose name cannot be published by court order, was accused of harassing the young woman, sub- jecting her to an unsolicited act of physical intimacy, subjecting her to unwanted sexual behaviour Philharmonic CEO Sigmund Mifsud charged with suborning witness CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Farrugia had recommended criminal action against Pilatus Bank owner Ali Sadr Hashem- inejad, bank operations su- pervisor Luis Rivera, director Ghambari Hamidreza, super- visor Mehmet Tasli, chief risk officer Antoniella Gauci, mon- ey laundering reporting officer Claudanne Sant-Fournier, and Pilatus Bank as an entity. Only two charged In September 2021, the police filed money laundering charges against Pilatus Bank as an enti- ty and Sant-Fournier. The case against the two is ongoing. But earlier this year former Nationalist MP Jason Azzopar- di stoked controversy when he revealed that Tasli had been in Malta to testify in a separate case just a month after police charged the bank and Sant-Fournier. In an affidavit, Azzopardi said Tasli was cross-examined by two lawyers from the office of the AG and allowed to leave Malta despite an arrest warrant issued to his name. "Not only did they not charge him, not only did they not order his arrest, but they asked him questions in court and let him leave as if nothing happened," Azzopardi said in his affidavit. At the time of Tasli's appear- ance in court, nobody outside the AG's office and the top brass at the police's Financial Crimes Investigation Department, knew of the nolle prosequi issued on some of the Pilatus officials. Additionally, the international and European arrest warrants signed by the investigating mag- istrate had not been actioned until January this year. Judge orders AG, inspector to testify The apparent reluctance by the police and AG not to pros- ecute all the people indicated in the Pilatus magisterial inquiry prompted Repubblika to file a court challenge. In a decree handed down last month, Judge Christian Falzon Scerri, who is presiding the Repubblika case, ordered In- spector Pauline D'Amato from the FCID to testify and exhibit correspondence exchanged be- tween the department and the AG, regarding the nolle prosequi decision. The inspector was also or- dered to exhibit copies of in- ternational or European arrest warrants issued by the Courts of Magistrates between December 2020 and February 2021, follow- ing the conclusion of the magis- terial inquiry into Pilatus Bank which had ended around that time. D'Amato's testimony and that of the AG are expected to be heard in the next sitting on Tuesday. Late in the day Earlier this year, MaltaToday revealed that the internation- al arrest warrants were des- patched to American justice counterparts in early 2022, requesting the extradition of Hasheminejad to Malta to an- swer on possible charges, yet to be filed, for facilitating large vol- umes of suspicious transactions that could have criminal origins. The IAWs were issued very late in the day, despite being signed by Pilatus inquiring mag- istrate Ian Farrugia back at the start of 2021. Apart from Hasheminejad, who is believed to be living in the USA after his arrest and lat- er acquittal on sanctions-bust- ing charges, the other bank of- ficials named in the IAWs were Pilatus Bank operations chief Luis Rivera, now living in Texas; operations supervisor Mehmet Tasli; and director Hamidreza Ghambari. The prospects of an immediate extradition from the US are next to nothing with legal sources ex- pecting the Americans to seek clarifications on the charges, followed by lengthy litigation by the accused to stall the process. Suffice to say that it took more than a year in the Yorgen Fenech case in which the Daph- ne Caruana Galizia murder sus- AG's high stakes gamble on Pilatus

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