Pilatus Bank underwent a "comprehensive" due diligence process prior to being granted a banking licence and was subsequently subjected to several inspections, the financial regulator has said. 

A "comprehensive and in-depth compliance examination" of the bank and its operations is still underway, the Malta Financial Services Authority said. 

In a statement issued on Monday morning, the MFSA reiterated the steps it had taken with regard to the Ta' Xbiex-based bank following the US arrest of its chairman Ali Sadr Hasheminejad on March 20. 

Mr Sadr was subsequently elbowed out of bank by the MFSA, which also froze all transactions, took charge of the bank's assets and appointed a former US financial regulator, Lawrence Connell, to take over the running of the bank. 

In its statement, the MFSA defended its track record of supervising the bank over the past years, noting that it had commissioned an independent external intelligence report of Pilatus Bank during its authorisation process.

MFSA offficials had also carried out on-site inspections of both prudential issues related to the bank as well as Pilatus' anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism provisions. 

It continued to coordinate "closely" with international regulators, including the UK Financial Conduct Authority, law enforcement authorities and others, the regulator added. 

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