Letters: 20 September 2015

Clients’ account and attachment order

I refer to the ‘Brief’ on the above subject written by Malcom Mifsud in last Sunday’s edition. This ‘Brief’ contains financial, legal and banking implications that in my opinion need clarification. 

Referring to Exante Ltd’s present licence issued by the MFSA: This company is officially stating under court records that it was acting as a ‘broker’. I am of the opinion that brokering ‘financial deals’ of whatever nature requires a Financial Brokers Licence, which apparently Exante Ltd does not have. 

Exante Ltd also claims that it is opening accounts with BOV under ‘clients’ names.  For a ‘broker’ to manage the assets of one of the brokered parties is against all known interpretations of this profession. First of all ‘brokering’ requires ‘two parties’. In this case, there is only ‘one party’, namely the client. 

Secondly for a broker to manage the assets of one of the brokered parties takes the ‘essence’ out of any brokerage or intended brokerage deal as it simply represents a conflict of interest and can possibly lead to abuse. 

In this case, what Exante Ltd has been doing is more of a ‘trusteeship’ nature and in that case Exante Ltd should be so licensed under the MFSA legislation. 

It looks to me on the basis of the facts as stated, that this company could have been acting outside the remit of its present licence. 

Had Exante Ltd been in possession of the Financial Brokers and Trusteeship Licences, then it would have been able to claim provision of ‘services’ under its existing licence but within the framework of licences in hand. As it stands, ‘services’ are being interpreted as doing anything one wants and calling it whatever suits the occasion, which is not the ideal situation where people’s money is concerned, as is the present case being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Also of serious concern is the fact that Exante Ltd has been opening accounts with BOV Ltd under simple ‘client’ nomenclatures without any information at all as to end beneficiary. What is of even more serious concern is BOV Ltd’s statement that it could not determine whether the money held in these accounts are in fact of third parties, meaning that BOV Ltd had no information at all as to who is the ‘end beneficiary’, throwing the legal banking requisite of due diligence out of the window. 

 Now this is a very serious admission coming from a bank. It is well known by all that these days, under Money Laundering legislation, all banks in almost all the world, for whatever type of accounts involved, must have full knowledge of the ‘end beneficiary’. 

BOV Ltd’s admission as reported seems to put the bank in a serious breach of this legislation and if it is as claimed, then I think we have discovered the perfect money laundering scheme ever. 

The above is being stated on the basis of the facts as presented in the Brief by Malcolm Mifsud. No allegation is to be taken as fact but only as possible interpretation of what has been stated in the ‘Brief’ and the abridged information contained therein and all remain subject to correction. In fact, I think that parties concerned should help to clarify their position in this saga for the enlightened readers. 

Frank Camilleri, Attard

Giving something back – music and mission

The notion of giving something back to music fans is ingrained in many musical artists, as exemplified in the ritualised forms of the encore at gigs or as free songs on websites.

Fortunately sensibilities have improved in that many musicians do not only ply their craft to earn a living or get rich but also for the benefit of their fellow man. For example Taylor Swift pays surprise visits to children’s hospitals. Beyonce’ encourages people to be moral with her BeyGood campaign. Justin Bleber’s latest fragrance sales are intended not only to turn a profit while making people smell nice but also to help with the proceeds of an educational organisation. And last month One Direction invited supporters to join in a citizens’ movement in which the ‘Directioners’ could say how the world should be made better.

On a much smaller scale, Foundation U has been set up to channel the proceeds from its fundraising efforts to what one can call ‘heroes on the front line’ who left the comfort of the First World, such as Malta, and went to Third World Countries where inequalities abound and there seems little possibility of this significantly changing from top down.

‘Front line heroes’ missionary priests and nuns try to change for the better the lives of some of the poorest and most discriminated people from ‘bottom up’, through having school classes for poor children and health clinics for those in most need.

In the second weekend in September, from Friday 11th, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th September a TV fundraising marathon was held on all local TV stations for which readers helped by phoning or sending an SMS, thus showing solidarity. Maltese religious, priests and nuns work in mission countries such as Pakistan, Kenya, Cameroon, Chad and the Central African Republic.

J. Bonett Balzan, St Julian’s

An excellent bus service 

We have an excellent bus service, in spite of all the gripes being reported in the media, which must be coming from disgruntled Nationalists. I suppose that just like Tonio Fenech has his spies in the government, Austin Gatt has his band of detractors, doing their best to mitigate the consequences of his most public disasters.

I use the buses about three times a week, on two days each week having to make four journeys to go to my part time job.

I find the service excellent, and as a Kartanzjan holder wonderful value. The buses are not only new and comfortable, they are also so much more suited to our roads than what Arriva had lumped us with – even that escaped Austin Gatt’s attention.

The Arriva buses were also touted as environmentally friendly – apparently people consider only emissions. The Arriva buses were so noisy, they were my constant companions when I was in my garden, two blocks of buildings away from their route.

The only fly in the ointment today is the human element. The majority of the drivers are Maltese, ignorant and arrogant. There is no way they will stop for a commuter rushing to catch the bus if they have started to move off their bus bay – not, at least, if the commuter is not showing some boobs or a bit of thigh.

When they feel like they do not stop to pick up passengers who signal them, and they shorten their journey at will, taking a different route so that people waiting where the bus should be passing, do not get their public transport.

Most treat their clients, the paying commuter, like dirt. And who can blame them. With their unions defending all their abuses, for fear of losing members, they are lords of all they survey.

Compare them to the foreign drivers employed with Alesa. I suppose these are grateful for having found employment. Not only do they not dawdle along their route, they are polite to passengers, help them where they can without giving their help as if they are doing someone a favour, and do not mind waiting to take on more passengers who reach the bus stage after the driver would have closed the bus doors.

As I see it, Autobuses de Leon should sack all its Maltese drivers, or most of them anyway, if it wants to improve on what it is offering.

C. Galea, Rabat