Bitter medicine

Clyde Caruana, Malta’s finance minister, has scuttled off to Germany on a last-ditch mission to save our country from the devastation that greylisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) would bring. A far cry from the euphoria of a few short weeks ago, when he and his colleagues were crowing to anyone who’d listen that they’d “passed” the Moneyval test.

The incompetence and stupidity of the goons in government, coming hot on the heels of the evil criminality of their predecessors under disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat, has led Malta to the edge of the actual abyss.

Greylisting, according to various news reports, is almost certain. The Americans, British and Germans are apparently determined to teach Malta a lesson. You don’t spend eight years cosying up to international criminals, allowing them to open banks for the specific purpose of money laundering, get involved in multiple corrupt deals and money laundering scams, fail to act even when the whole world is watching, lie brazenly about it, even when the truth is flashing across every single TV screen and news portal in the world, and expect to get away with it.

What’s Caruana actually going to do? Stand, head bowed, hands behind his back and tearfully plead with those intent on punishing us to forgive us?

It’s too late for any of this. The vote is less than five days away. Minds have been made up, decisions have been made. The obvious attempt to hoodwink the world into believing Malta had cleaned up its act and was now, scout’s honour, going to behave itself, was so ludicrous I actually find it hard to believe the imbeciles in government ever thought they could get away with it.

These people have been dealing with the uneducated morons who vote for them for so long, they fail to realise that normal people don’t swallow blatant lies so easily. And now, at the eleventh hour, it becomes clear that those who count have not swallowed those lies, or fallen for the falsities of the “strengthened” rules and regulations that ticked the Moneyval boxes.

This is why you don’t vote fools into office. Do they really think the US, the UK and Germany aren’t aware that way before Pilatus Bank was even a gleam in its founder’s eye, we already had strict anti-money laundering laws in place? Or that they don’t know that Pilatus Bank didn’t happen because our rules allowed it, but it happened because the government itself chose to ignore them?

Do they really think these three heavyweight judges haven’t kept a close eye on the way that, despite very clear, unequivocal, laws against corruption, graft, cronyism and all the other financial crimes committed by the familiars of Muscat’s dishonourable regime, none of these rules were actually enforced? That not only were the rules not enforced, but that the institutions set up to regulate, monitor, expose and charge those who ignored the laws, simply didn’t act?

Moneyval’s ticked boxes become irrelevant when it’s clear to anyone with average intelligence that the Maltese government has no intention of using any of the “strengthened” laws to clean up its act, prosecute the criminals who broke them, penalise the institutions and officials who failed to do their duty and root out each and every MP and cabinet member accused of committing a crime.

How is Caruana going to explain away the fact that we have a sitting minister accused of bank robbery, for God’s sake? What possible excuse could he offer for the fact that Rosianne Cutajar, despite her envelope of cash and her unholy alliance with an accused murderer is still a PL MP? How on earth is he going to justify the continued employment of Justyne Caruana, accused of using public funds to pay an unqualified, unsuitable personal friend to do a job her own ministerial officials were actually supposed to be doing?

Why is Konrad Mizzi still at large? Why hasn’t he been arrested and charged? Why is the shameful former Attorney General, Peter Grech, not facing the courts for his unbelievable failure to do his job? The former police commissioner, he who, among so many other things, allowed the Pilatus Bank CEO time to gather up any incriminating evidence and bundle it onto a plane and out of reach of investigators before reluctantly taking any action at all?

The rampant, ongoing use of direct orders to give lucrative contracts to PL cronies, the shocking dishonesty of deals such as the St Vincent de Paul arrangement, the scandalous financial servitude of both Malta’s main political parties to certain companies, and the clear correlation between the donations they make and the contracts, permits, impunity and advantage they gain.

No amount of “new laws” and “strengthened” regulations can change the fact that this government, just like the one before it, has shown nothing but contempt for honesty, integrity and international standards. This government, like the one before it, has used gas-lighting, lies and bluster to try and con the people, and our foreign observers, that there’s nothing wrong with anything they’ve ever done, that “negative” critics and “traitors” are the true source of guilt here.

They don’t get that normal people don’t fall for that kind of thing. On the contrary, that kind of tactic will only ensure you’re even more distrusted.

Prime Minister Robert Abela tries to present himself as an upstanding, honest man. What a joke. Even just the manoeuvres that brought Caruana to office on their own would make anyone’s hair stand on end. The expense to the public purse of getting rid of Edward Scicluna was phenomenal, but nothing compared to the cost to our reputation of appointing such a character to the governorship of the Central Bank.

Scicluna, under criminal investigation over his involvement with the Vitals hospital deal, now has a seat on the board of the European Central Bank. I can’t even begin to imagine what his fellow ECB governors think of him. But I’m quite sure Jens Weidman, chancellor of the Bundesbank, will have had quite a lot to say about it.

Caruana’s panic has kicked in too late. Even if, by some miracle, Malta escapes greylisting this time, the damage has been done. Financial institutions across the world will shy away from doing business with us. Companies wanting to stay on the right side of the US, the UK and Germany will think twice before investing here, or even doing business with Maltese firms.

Our banks have already been feeling the brunt of the pain of operating in a pariah country; soon the rest of the financial services industry, the igaming sector, the IT and software segments…practically every industry in Malta will feel the pain.

The island will learn the hard way that snake-oil salesmen may have some success with ignorant buffoons, but they can’t con normal people. I’ve heard quite a few Maltese people and foreign residents saying they relish the prospect of Malta being greylisted, that it’s only through swallowing this bitter medicine that the country will learn the importance of being honest. But they’re wrong.

Greylisting would be catastrophic for the island. Anyone with family, friends and colleagues in Malta who’d have to suffer the long and terrible consequences should absolutely dread such an outcome.

The tragedy is that even without greylisting, or God forbid, blacklisting, the damage has been done. The people involved have shown themselves to be double-dealing, dishonest charlatans, and everyone who counts will have seen this. There’s no amount of snake oil that could ever magic this away.

                           
                               
guest
19 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
James
James
4 months ago

What a wonderfully written synopsis of everything which has been going on for years with the absolute blessing of the untouchables. The sad reality is that the decent people of Malta are going to be hung out to dry at some stage as a result and that is the biggest scandal of all.

Simon Oosterman
Simon Oosterman
4 months ago
Reply to  James

But in the long run grey-listing will be most beneficial for Malta as it will force change, which will not happen otherwise.

James
James
4 months ago

It is clear change is needed but the will to make those changes seems to be beyond the gift of those who should be in a position to implement them. Too many have vested interests and will fight tooth and nail to protect the status quo and until and unless the FATF or other external bodies grasp the nettle, I fear little will change.

viv
viv
4 months ago

As long as the mafia retains its tentacles and power, nothing will change for the law-breakers.
The blame will be projected upon journalists and political opposition.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
4 months ago

It seems that being in Clyde Caruana’s shoes is a position hardly to be envied, does it. The long list of answerable behaviour he is carrying in his brief-case will take a lot of explaining – and little by way of explaining away.

The penultimate sentence “…….and everyone who counts will have seen this”. Maybe they all have, but the question to be considered is: “Has everyone who will be counted seen all this”.

The answer will be given come next polling day

Marc Sant
Marc Sant
4 months ago

The Maltese financial services industry is at the cusp of a downward spiral. Malta’s reputation in this industry is in tatters. The only clients interested in doing business in Malta are the types of clients that put us in this mess in the first place.

Financial Services practitioners are now faced with the prospect of accepting dodgy clients or going out of business.

This in turn, will lead to further loss of reputation and the vicious circle goes on.

Graham Crompton
Graham Crompton
4 months ago
Reply to  Marc Sant

The MFSA are supposed to regulate the financial services industry. They authorise the firms for business,yet there are so many that turn out crooked,it makes you wonder about whether the authorisation process is actually carried out.
Pilatus Bank,Nexia BT,Zenit Finance,Momentum Pensions Trustees, MC Trustees and many more have been handed down fines.It cannot be coincidence.for it to be happening so often.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
4 months ago

Excellent article as usual, based on facts and not comedian fiction, coming out from loud double bogan mouths like donkey MP Glen Bedding field, or One fool’s news sowing seeds by an ignoramus head to harvest the bliss of ignorance.
No bags of oranges or Maltese pastizzi with the compliments of the Maltese Government, will change the minds of Germany whose EU representative was insulted with lack of respect by a PL bogan MEP in the European Parliament, nor will the US with the suspicious investment of Steward Healthcare and money flowing through Dubai’s Egrant account into the account of the Maltese New York NTO representative/Buttardi, through JP Morgan Bank, and Keith Schembri’s nutritionist Crane Currency investment, and and neither the UK’s suspicion of Malta’s tax system and the IIP scheme facilitating suspicious Russian, Azeri, Dubai and Chinese criminal investment into the UK and obviouslly the EU/US through Pilatus bank in Malta and its branch in UK.
You say, God forbid a grey investment, but I say that nothing will start resurrecting Malta, unless we are given a highly deserved black shot with all its unfortunate implications which the silent honest majority surely do not deserve.

Winston Psaila
Winston Psaila
4 months ago

Excellent Godfrey. As always, biting as truth always is to criminals.

Winston Psaila
Winston Psaila
4 months ago

Superb article, Blanche. A lot of criminals are walking around stark naked after reading your article. It’s not the Emperor who’s without clothes but his whole rotten entourage and believe me, their subjects know it.

Chris
Chris
4 months ago

Thanks for the article, Blanche.

You’re discussing total raving loons who are so out of it, they may not have the capacity to understand your article or indeed the requirements of FATF.

Their collective deranged heads ooze with asinine frenzy.

A better way for US, UK and Germany to deal with them is to transport them to some special asylum.

We lament the state of their mind and soul as much as we lament what they have done to this country.

A mafia psyche is lamentably insane: a psychopathic state of existence.

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
4 months ago

What can Clyde Caruana tell the Germans? That the institutions are working when they aren’t. The first thing they tell him or asking him is” How is the former minister Konrad Mizzi not being investigated and how is he still a member of parliament”. It will be in our interest to know how he would answer such a question.

adriang
adriang
3 months ago

The sad thing is that when the economy takes a serious because of this. they will be blaming it all on the pandemic. People will believe it, and will be won over by some silly give away such as reducing the electricity bills, or fuel cost (now that electric vehicles are well on their way). What a sad country indeed.

wadge roland
wadge roland
3 months ago

You really think that this article is doing Malta any good? Its very obvious that you are not at the frontline of the new Money Laundering regulations which have made matters so strict that ALL professionals in the field are in reality not coping. We are actually now implementing strict controls across all areas and even if we were mot up to date the purpose of the evaluation exercise should not be to punish us for what we were but to evaluate what we are today. And today we are more compliant then our European counterpart. What a misinformed article!!!! Just in case you are thinking it. I am not a labour apologist and condemn totally all the various incidents which have garnered us international spot light, but this damage to our reputation will not go away even with a new Nationalist headed government. Forget it.

wadge roland
wadge roland
3 months ago
Reply to  Blanche Gatt

I don’t think I missed your point. You are stating that the rules are not being enforced. I actually said that they are. Ask anyone at the forefront of the ML regulations. Ask anyone! Have a look at the FIAU penalty lists. We are being killed with regulation and enforcement to the point that some of us have stopped working because we cannot cope. I am sorry but your article is factually wrong according to me

Chris
Chris
3 months ago
Reply to  wadge roland

You may have a point, Wadge – but that does not explain why the loons are still stomping their demented toddler feet with rage if they can’t get their own way.

Last edited 3 months ago by Chris

Related Stories

Clyde Caruana’s magic faraway tree
Apologies to Enid Blyton. But listening to Clyde Caruana’s
Heroes with feet of clay
Do they really not get it, all those “prosit
Support investigative journalism that speaks truth to power.