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Satabank fined €60,500 by MFSA

Satabank Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat inaugurated the premises of the Satabank in 2016. Photo: DOI / Clifton Fenech

Satabank has been fined €60,500 as an administrative penalty by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) for the bank’s failure to abide with banking laws relating to risk management.

The MFSA announced the penalty in a statement on Wednesday that referred to a breach of banking regulations and governance failings.

Credit insitutions that are significant in size and nature and scope of their activities are obliged to set up adequate internal control mechanisms that are “consistent with and promote sound and effective risk management”.

The law also requires the setting up of a risk committee “to monitor the risk strategy and the risk appetite of the credit institution”.

The MFSA has taken action against Satabank at a time when the financial regulator has come under fire for not taking timely action on Pilatus Bank, which is at the centre of money laundering allegations with its chairman Ali Sadr Hasheminejad is now facing charges in the US for sanctions busting and money-laundering.

In June, The Times of Malta reported that financial investigators were scrutinizing the bank’s compliance with anti-money laundering regulations. An audit firm was called in to assist the MFSA and Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) in their work.

The bank was named by a Sicilian prosecutor last year as having been used by fuel trader Gordon Debono, now under house arrest in Italy, to receive illicit payments through his Maltese company Petroplus Ltd, as part of an alleged €30 million fuel smuggling ring. Debono and PetroPlus Ltd were slapped with US sanctions in February.

The Satabank statement for Petroplus Ltd available at the Registry of Companies, and shared on Twitter.

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