The Malta Financial Services Authority has banned Christian Ellul and his business partner Karl Schranz from taking any positions in licensed companies for five years for “lack of honesty and integrity”.
Ellul and Schranz, who are also the owners of advisory services firm E&S Consultancy Ltd, were slapped with the ban earlier this week by the regulatory authority, which also came down with warnings and sanctions on two companies – RES Malta Ltd and SOLV International Ltd – in which the two men are involved.
The MFSA also issued separate directives to Ellul and Schranz, personally, after these were found to be in breach of a number of rules and regulations.
The authority made clear reference to “in particular the lack of honesty and integrity displayed by Ellul as a result of his behaviour and business relations”, which led the Authority to decide to direct him to resign from all previously approved positions, which he currently holds in RES Malta Ltd and SOLV International Ltd.
The MFSA also used the exact same terms with reference to Schranz.
Both men have to divest themselves as soon as possible of all the shareholdings they hold, whether directly or indirectly with RES Malta Ltd and SOLV International Ltd.
They also have to refrain from accepting any new appointments and acquiring any shareholdings which require the Authority’s approval in entities licensed, authorised or supervised by the MFSA for five years.
Schranz is one of the two directors of RES Malta – the other is listed as Mariella Baldacchino. The only shareholder is E&S Group Ltd. Schranz is also the company secretary.
Meanwhile, SOLV International Ltd – a fiduciary company of E&S group – was renamed in October 2015 from Alpha Business Ltd. E&S Group is the sole shareholder and Schranz is director, legal and judicial representative as well as company secretary.
In its notice, the MFSA said that until Schranz and Ellul divest themselves of their entire shareholding, whether directly or indirectly, in SOLV International Ltd and RES Malta and resign, the companies could not take on new clients or offer new or additional services to existing clients.
Ellul and Schranz can appeal the MFSA’s decision.
This is not the first action taken by the regulatory authority against Ellul and Schranz. Last November, it issued a notice saying it had cancelled the registration of E&S Consultancy Ltd. The company has filed an appeal before the Financial Services Tribunal in December, contesting the MFSA’s decision.
Ellul and Schranz are suing The Shift and Matthew Caruana Galizia on multiple counts for ‘damaging’ the company’s reputation when disclosing links between Marian Kocner – the man charged with commissioning the deaths of Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová – and Ellul, who was married to his daughter and set up companies for him in Malta, since closed.