Really? Former MFSA Officials Hid Pilatus Bank Documents In Office!

Maltese regulator MFSA reports losses for 2021
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The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) just keeps making headlines for the wrong reasons. Shocking court testimony by an MFSA official revealed that two MFSA officials hid documents from the magisterial inquiry into the operations of Pilatus Bank in a safe on the Authority’s premises that was only accessible by two people who are no longer at the Authority. This testimony was revealed on Maltese television by a local NGO President.

The documents were evidence intended for the Magistrate, and their concealment came in direct violation of the court’s order to make them available, NGO Repubblika said. The documents in question dealt with the bank’s capitalization and liquidity levels, but “the evidence only reached the investigating magistrate after the two officers who hid the documents resigned from the MFSA,” according to the quoted testimony.

The witness added that it was only the Heads of the department, Karol Gabarretta and his deputy Ray Vella, who had access to the safe and its contents. Karol Gabarretta today acts as a non-executive director at EPG Financial Services, an MFSA/regulated entity. He is also the Secretary General of the Malta Bankers’ Association (MBA) since July 2018. Gabarretta represents the Association on various local bodies, such as the Management Committee of the Deposit Compensation Scheme and Board of Governors of FinanceMalta. 

Michelle Mizzi Buontempo is acting CEO of MFSA
Michelle Mizzi Buontempo

The Executive Committee of MFSA, currently headed by the acting CEO Michelle Mizzi Buontempo (pictured left), includes Christopher P. Buttigieg whose wife Bernice Buttigieg the secretary to the board of Finance Malta. It’s mind-blowing how these officials do not declare their conflicts of interest in the public. Buttigieg is subject to a lawsuit for trying to convince a license holder to sell its business to a competitor.

Questions sent to MFSA have remained unanswered. Finance Malta also includes Alan Cuschieri, of Calamatta Cuschieri Investments Services Limited as a member of its board of directors. Cuschieri’s firm was never fined despite other shocking court testimony confirming that his firm handled more than €500,000 in cash to a convicted criminal.

MFSA boses Joe Cuschieri and Christopher Buttigieg
Former MFSA CEO Joseph Cuschieri and Christopher P. Buttigieg

Edwina Licari, the friend of disgraced former MFSA CEO Joseph Cuschieri, also forms part of the MFSA’s executive committee. She was made to resign in disgrace from the FIAU board of governors following news that she traveled to Las Vegas with Yorgen Fenech, the alleged mastermind behind the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Leaked emails show that Edwina Licari also acted as Fenech’s consultant, despite this being a clear conflict of interest.

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