Government's ultimate disservice to financial services
Minister Edward Scicluna is putting the interests of the Government before the interests of the financial services sector and before the national interest, at the time when Malta’s reputation as an international financial jurisdiction with good reputation is being eroded.
This erosion of the financial services sector is caused Joseph Muscat’s decision to retain Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri despite revelations that they set up financial structures in Panama and New Zealand soon after Labour coming to power in 2013. These structures were set up to receive funds from 17 Black, which in turn received €1.3 million from the company that operates the LNG tanker that services the new power station and from an Azeri company.
The possibility of money laundering in these payments was also highlighted in an FIAU report. Instead of following up on the conclusions reached in the report, the FIAU, which then formed part of Minister’s Edward Scicluna ministerial portfolio, fired Jonathan Ferris the FIAU officer that drew up the report. Minister Scicluna has avoided giving clear answers on his involvement in this dismissal, except for the statement that in his view, certain FIAU reports were written to be leaked.
Mr Ferris also separately reported that Pilatus Bank was involved in possible cases of money laundering and that the bank was operating in breach of acceptable banking practices. Pilatus Bank was given a license under Minister Scicluna’s watch in 2014. It was allowed to continue to operate with impunity under his watch.
Pilatus Bank is now the subject of inquiries and investigations both in Malta and abroad, which investigations were not launched at the behest of the Government who did all it could to protect this bank, Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri. This despite repeated calls from the Opposition for concrete action to be taken.
Minister Scicluna was asked by the press to give his views about Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri and Pilatus Bank. Minister Scicluna was offered another opportunity to denounce outright and to call for the immediate sacking of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri. Minister Edward Scicluna chose to hide behind the ongoing investigations which will not and cannot determine political responsibility.
By refusing to call for their resignation despite the most recent revelations, Minister Edward Scicluna has aligned himself with them in defiance of the national interest.
Mario de Marco
Opposition Spokesperson for Finance
Opposition Spokesperson for Economy, Financial Services and Innovation