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European Commission wants MFSA investigated over conflicts of interest

European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans says MFSA possibly breached EU anti-money laundering regulations

European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans

The European Banking Authority (EBA) should assess whether the Maltese Financial Services Authority (MFSA) is “free from conflicts of interest” to perform its supervisory duties.

In a letter to Socialist MEP Ana Gomes, European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans said that the MFSA apparently failed to take action against private banking institutions that continue to hold a licence to provide services in the EU.

“The Commission fully agrees that the EBA should assess whether the Maltese banking supervisors are fully equipped and free from conflicts of interest to perform their supervisory duties,” he said, adding that the EBA should investigate a possible breach or non-application of EU laws.

In reference to the MFSA’s decision to allow Pilatus Bank operate in Malta, Timmermans said “as a consequence, the Commission has called on the EBA to ensure that financial institutions in Malta satisfy the requirements laid down in Union anti-money laundering legislation, in particular requesting EBA to investigate a possible breach or non-application of Union law by the Maltese competent authorities in relation to Pilatus Bank”

Gomes had expressed concerns on reports by the Daphne Project and asked whether the Commission will be taking any concrete action to reassure that the investigations into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder are carried out independently and thoroughly.

In his reply, Timmermans said the Commission is already monitoring the situation in Malta closely.
Dismissing Gomes’ claims that the Commission was “unacceptably complacent,” Timmermans said Brussels “is ascertaining every new piece of information brought to the table, including those brought by the Daphne Project. Should the Commission see scope and determine it has competence to act on that information, we will certainly do so.”

Insisting that the Commission expected an “independent and thorough” investigation into Caruana Galizia’s assassination, Timmermans said that “no stone should remain unturned and we need to come to full disclosure on what has happened, why it has happened and who is responsible.”

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