Manwel Delia, you might wish to note what happened to this company. A close friend of yours was involved but quite understandably you wouldn’t dare write a blog on this issue.
Manwel, you might wish to refer to Malta Today’s article by Matthew Agius dated 19th February 2021. Here you will find that “A Maltese financial services provider has had a €30,000 fine for regulatory breaches confirmed on appeal after an inquiry found evidence of money laundering.”
In January 2013, Malta Today revealed that the police did not investigate leads of money laundering through CapitalOne Investment. The ownership, in Malta, was held by Baltimore as nominee. This happened just days before a general election was announced and a campaign set into motion. The article brings to the fore the most important point. We knew it already but it is important to highlight it once again.
At the time, “Nationalist Parliamentary Assistant, Beppe Fenech Adami, was a director of the fiduciary. He resigned this directorship in January 2014.”
During the investigation, the police found that Baltimore was owned by Richard Abdilla Castillo and had Fenech Adami as non-executive director. Raymond Aquilina, now former police inspector, on 13th January 2013, “requested that he forward information on Baltimore to Europol. But the case was not pursued by police top brass, postponing any investigation until the election had passed with a note on the file saying “B U in 3 months” – “bring up, in three months”.
The inquiry headed by three retired judges after the Malta Today story, could not establish with certainty why the case was never pursued, and why the case was finally dropped in December 2013. It is also pertinent to mention that Baltimore was already under the scrutiny of the MFSA in March 2013 with another audit starting in May 2016 by FIAU resulting in a €30,000 fine over a number of shortcomings.
It was so evident that the Court of Appeal upheld the decision taken by FIAU. These penalties were imposed after the following findings: (i) the company had fallen short of its obligations to identify and verify ultimate beneficial owners, including the details necessary to identify and verify their residential addresses. (ii) It failed, on numerous occasions, to obtain sufficient information to establish the purpose and intended nature of the business relationships it maintained with its customers. (iii) All files examined lacked any information to understand the source or sources of wealth, source of funds and anticipated level of activity of the customers. (iv) The company failed to carry out ongoing monitoring, by ensuring that the documents, data or information held are reviewed and kept up-to-date. (v) It also failed to establish and implement effective customer acceptance policies that are conducive to determine the PEP (politically exposed person) exposure of its customers and/or beneficial owners.
Mr Manwel Delia, I look forward to reading your blog with regards to the above. Should I expect any call for resignation or am I asking too much? Are you going to delve deeper to find out more about this company, similar to what you did about another company which was opened 20 years ago, when the rules of the game were totally different? Should I expect a vehement attack on the PEP involved, similar to what we experienced three years ago with another PEP individual?
I’m not going to hold my breath but if nothing is said or written this will be a clear signal of two weights and two measures from your end.