By Elizabeth Hearst
The Maltese consul to Shanghai has been charged with money laundering following the discovery of €500,000 in cash, during a raid on his home.
Aldo Cutajar was remanded in custody following a court appearance with his wife Isabel. The Maltese police’s Economic Crimes Unit revealed that they had discovered €500,000 in cash during a raid on his home in Naxxar on Saturday.
Furthermore, the police revealed that between $300,000 and $400,000 was believed to be held in an account in Mr Cutajar’s name in Dubai as reported by the Times of Malta.
Investigators described that they had found jewellery, a Rolex watch, fine wine and other collectors items among Mr Cutajar’s possessions in his home.
Authorities believe that the illicit funds were obtained through property dealings in Cyprus and were alleged to be funded through the proceeds of crime. The police state they had received confidential information which led to the opening of an investigation into Mr Cutajar and resulted in subsequent investigations in Cyprus, Dubai and China.
Mr Cutajar’s brother – Mario Cutajar, head of Malta’s civil service said he did not know anything in relation to his brother’s affairs and was solely responsible for his own actions. He declared that he had nothing to do with the on-going investigation and stated that he was not consulted prior to his brother’s appointment to Beijing and Shanghai.
Mario Cutajar added that he had written to the police commissioner and described that he was willing to grant access to the police to any information of his own finances, should they wish to see them.
He specified that the police had not been in contact with him and that he was not involved in any way. He also emphasised the need for disciplinary action and stated he would not be involved in the process.
Opposition MP’s have called for a detailed investigation into Aldo Cutajar’s appointment to the Civil Service in light of his previous conviction for fraud and subsequent interdiction. Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi stated that after March 2013, following Mario’s appointment to principal permanent secretary, Aldo was employed in the public service.
MP’s believe an inquiry should be launched to uncover who was responsible for Aldo’s re-employment that was in breach of a court order, in conjunction with the removal of the court’s decision from the court’s online record.