The Council of Europe’s monitoring body has been asked by anti-corruption activists to look into the practices of the Malta Financial Services Authority, in particular with regards to the Pilatus Bank case.

The monitoring body, MoneyVal, will be conducting its 5th Round evaluation of Malta in November.

The French and Maltese anti-corruption organisations, Sherpa and II-Kenniesa, sent the request, saying MoneyVal should evaluate Malta taking into account the revelations of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and the Forbidden Stories consortium.

The organisations stressed the importance of MoneyVal's role as a leading international partner in the global network of anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism evaluation bodies and as an associate member of the Financial Action Task Force.

Ms Caruana Galizia, murdered last October, discovered links between Pilatus bank and the Maltese government and revealed the existence of bank accounts opened by relatives of the Azeri regime. She suspected Pilatus bank of laundering funds.

Following her assassination, the investigative consortium 'Forbidden Stories' launched the 'Daphne Project' which continues the investigations of the journalist.

It confirmed that Pilatus bank would have served as a cover for the two most powerful families in Azerbaijan – the president and his Minister for Emergencies – to transfer money to Europe and invest in different sectors of the economy from dummy companies established in Malta. All these companies have accounts with Pilatus bank.

The MFSA on June 30 announced that it had formally filed a recommendation with the European Central Bank for the withdrawal of Pilatus Bank’s banking licence.

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