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[WATCH] PN in government would not retain MFSA chief Joe Bannister

A PN government will not reappoint Joe Bannister as chairperson of the Malta Financial Services Authority, leader Simon Busuttil has confirmed

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
22 May 2017, 9:26am
Last updated on 22 May 2017, 10:26am
Bannister has been head of the MFSA since its inception in 1999
Bannister has been head of the MFSA since its inception in 1999
Busuttil says he would not confirm Joe Bannister in MFSA top seat
A PN government will not reappoint Joe Bannister as chairperson of the Malta Financial Services Authority, Party leader Simon Busuttil has confirmed.

Addressing a press conference at the Lower Hastings Garden, the PN leader praised Bannister for his long tenure at the helm of the MFSA but said that the time has come to appoint a new face.

"All public members automatically resign at the start of a new administration," he said. "Bannister has served long and well as MFSA chairperson, and I have absolutely no intention to personalise this situation but the time has come to appoint a new face."

Bannister has been head of the MFSA since its inception in 1999 and was previously in charge of predecessor, the Malta Financial Services Centre.

Busuttil was outlining the PNs plans for the financial services sector in the wake of the Malta Files.

He said he will instantly clean up Malta's global reputation, appoint a high-level working group to draft a national strategy for financial services, boost innovation at the MFSA, and ensure full independence of the MFSA, the FIAU and FinanceMalta.

He once again pinned the blame for the Malta Files squarely on Joseph Muscat's shoulders, arguing that Malta’s reputation has suffered greatly as a result of the Prime Minister's inaction on the Panama Papers scandal.

Busuttil vehemently defended Malta's taxation system and insisted it could withstand pressure from European countries in the long-term.

"The pressure is being applied by our competitors who are jealous of our taxation system," he said. "We have a right to our own taxation system and we must ensure we are constantly a step ahead of our competitors."

He also dismissed criticism against fiduciary services offered by financial companies - arguing that they such services are fully legal and ethical and haven’t been the cause of controversy since they were introduced.

'John Bonello never forgave me for MEP rejection'

The PN leader also dismissed claims by the PNs former international secretary John Bonello, made at a Labour mass meeting on Sunday, that Busuttil had lied to him.

Indeed, he suggested that Bonello has borne a grudge against him ever since he wasn’t selected as one of the PNs MEP candidates back in 2014.

"There was a pool of some 30-50 potential candidates and a commission was formed to pick around 10. Bonello wasn’t chosen and it appears as though he’s never forgiven me for it. However, I never lied to him and my track record on integrity speaks for itself."