Bravo! MFSA finally takes actions against scam-facilitating payment processor Paytah

MFSA-regulated Paytah and its network of companies
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And it does move! Finally, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) is acting on the numerous complaints from aggrieved investors about regulated payment processor Phoenix Payments Limited d/b/a Paytah (www.paytah.com). As reported by FinTelegram, Paytah has knowingly and willingly supported various broker scams with its services. Many victims have lost their money as a result. The European Fund Recovery Initiative (EFRI), through its Maltese lawyer, has filed complaints with the MFSA and the authorities. Now the MFSA has announced that a Supervisory Action will be taken.

The money-laundering issue

According to the information available to FinTelegram, Interpol also investigates Paytah. The company’s former Chief Legal and Compliance Officer (CCO) claims that Paytah has engaged massively in cryptocurrencies with Estonian companies without sufficient AML/KYC. The onboarding of clients would be outsourced to Digital Exchange Europa SL, which did not have the relevant experience. Please read the full report here.

Paytah’s directors are Marco Lavanna, Keith Farrugia, and Francesc Xavier Alabart Lopez. Another important person is the Spanish citizen Jesus Perez. According to his LinkedIn profile, the latter is also the Chief Product Officer of Monetum, a Swiss crypto payment processor related to Marco Lavanna (LinkedIn). Paytah management ran several payment processors in different companies and apparently did not take regulatory requirements too seriously. To put it very mildly.

Regulatory failures

FIAU official Kenneth Farrugia

So far, the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) of Malta did not act publicly against Paytah. FinTelegram is reliably informed that the FIAU has received the dodgy business carried out by Paytah for some months. The Director of FIAU, Kenneth Farrugia (pictured left), and its Assistant Director Alfred Zammit have failed to take action against Pilatus Bank, a bank that the European Central Bank shut down. Moneyval has also harshly criticized FIAU for its failings. The FIAU also employs people like Kristina Arbociute, described by the Maltese press as being very cozy with local firm Exante (XNT)

MFSA is currently being led by Christopher Buttigieg, a person who enjoyed a record number of promotions under his predecessor Joseph Cuschieri. Cuschieri resigned in the last weeks following a scandal that involved the alleged mastermind of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese investigative journalist, Yorgen Fenech. Buttigieg has been under fire for his complete failure in transforming Malta into a blockchain island. Edwina Licari, who has also been part of the scandal involving the alleged mastermind of the assassination, is still acting as legal counsel to MFSA

Stay tuned, we will prove a more detailed update soon.

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