The trial date, in US District Court in New York (SDNY), of the Iranian national Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad, the Chairman of Malta's Pilatus Bank, closed by regulators, has been set for October 21, 2019. The defendant remains free on bond, which may be a signal that he either is or shortly will be, cooperating with the authorities, regarding Iran sanctions evasion activities conducted through Pilatus Bank.
We are not buying the officially-stated reasons for such a lengthy delay of the trial, Ends of Justice, and allowing the defendant sufficient time to prepare for trial. Nejad is charged with, among other counts, money laundering, bank fraud, and Iran sanctions violations. Would not the US Government wish to have Iran sanctions evasion cases tried as soon as possible?
Also, given his possession of a St Kitts CBI passport, which affords him visa-free admission around the world, and his Iranian nationality, would he not be a major flight risk? There must be another reason for both bond and the 10-month delay in trial date, and it is most likely cooperation with US law enforcement.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant