Malta Appellate Court Throws Out First Money Laundering Case (ID)

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Monday, May 1, 2000
Bruce Zagaris
On November 26, 2000, an appellate court in Malta overturned the country’s first money laundering conviction when it held that the Attorney General had failed to prove the link between the crime and the money in the defendant’s possession. On February 15, 1995, defendant John Vella was charged with the simple possession of cannabis resin and cocaine and the possession of cocaine in circumstances showing it was not for his person use. On May 27, 1996, the indictment was issued against Vella, but the qualifier of the intent to sell was not included. In October 1996, the Attorney General requested the Criminal Court to amend and issue a superseding indictment. On December 19, 1996, the court denied the request because such an amendment would violate sec. 597 of the Malta Criminal Code, which precludes an amendment that would make the crime charged more serious than in the original indictment.…[more]