James Grech, a longstanding member of Bank of Valletta’s board of directors, has initiated urgent court proceedings after he was practically locked out of any further participation in board meetings.
Grech is asking the court to issue a prohibitory injunction stopping the bank from implementing a “new policy” aimed at barring his further participation in the bank’s top decision-making body.
Through a company announcement, the bank’s Board of Directors said it had recently approved a policy whereby a director of the bank who has ongoing legal procedures against the bank or any of its subsidiaries while still in office shall immediately withdraw from participating in board meetings while the case is still ongoing in court.
The bank said that while this new policy is to be implemented “with immediate effect”, it also referred to Grech, who started separate court proceedings against the bank earlier this year.
Thus, according to this new bank policy, Grech has been asked to conditionally withdraw from all future board meetings until such legal actions against the bank persist.
According to the bank, this is due to Grech’s claimed conflict of interest.
It is not known whether this new policy has the approval of the regulatory authorities. The bank said the regulators “have been informed”.
The Shift is informed that the Court will decide whether to issue a permanent injunction against the bank’s lock-out of Grech next week after upholding it temporarily until the case is heard.
Earlier this year, The Shift reported court proceedings started by Grech against Bank of Valletta seeking compensation on claims of “lies, manipulation and false declarations” by senior board officials and bank executives.
Grech is insisting that back in 2019, as part of a new regulatory framework introduced by the European Central Bank, an annual ‘Individual Suitability Report’ had to be carried out by the bank on all individuals forming part of the board, when then-Chairman Deo Scerri and other members of the board acted irregularly in his regard.
He accused the bank of acting unprofessionally and making false declarations about him to the regulators. He also sued the bank for breaching data protection laws.
BOV is denying all claims but failed to issue a company announcement at the time when it was taken to court by one of its directors.
James Grech has been on the board of BOV since 2004 and is elected by the shareholders in annual general meetings through a vote.
Apart from also being a senior employee of the same bank, he had also contested the MEP and the last general elections on behalf of the Labour Party.
Grech was also appointed Chairman of Gozo Channel (Holding) Ltd by Prime Minister Robert Abela.
BOV is currently led by government appointee Gordon Cordina, the owner of a consultancy firm that receives tens of thousands of direct orders from the government and its agencies annually.