Investors seek refund of capital from €6 million financial black hole

Couple files judicial protest against Maltese Cross Financial Services Ltd over lost investments.

A couple has today filed a judicial protest against investigated financial services firm Maltese Cross Financial Services Ltd, claiming that the latter’s “advice and illegal actions,” caused them to lose their investments.

Anton and Joanna Calleja, are claiming that despite being informed by the MFSA that the defendant company’s operations have been suspended, they heard “nothing else since” – effectively leaving them in the dark about their investments.

“As a result of the company’s bad financial advice, illegal behaviour, and negligence the plaintiffs suffered have suffered substantial losses in capital and interests,” it held.

Filed by Lawyer Richard Sladden, the judicial protest is consequently requesting a refund of their capital plus interest as well as a detailed account about how their investment was handled.

The protest was filed against directors Jean-Claude Bugeja, Robert Cutajar and Stephen Spiteri, and follows 14 other investors who filed a similar judicial protest.

In August, two of the company’s directors, Stephen Spiteri and Robert Cutajar, have claimed that Claude Bugeja – another director, who in August was suspended by the MFSA – admitted that there was an “undeclared €6 million shortfall in clients’ assets.”

The directors have also insisted that this was “immediately referred to the MFSA and the police so investigations could start as soon as possible.”

On 7 August, the financial regulator recently suspended the operations of the company and took regulatory action against one of the company’s directors: 42-year-old Jean Claude Bugeja. Bugeja, formerly the managing director of Island Financial Services, part of the Island Insurance Group, was also banned from giving any financial advice and from accessing the company’s records, IT systems and offices.

On 22 August, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) announced that it is carrying out investigations over the “material shortfall … arisen from the possible misuse and manipulation of such assets.” Moreover, MFSA explained that the police have been informed of its findings.

Lawyer Richard Sladden signed the protest.