Tonna has golden passport licence suspended, Stock Exchange launches investigation

Firm belonging to Brian Tonna has licence to sell Maltese citizenship suspended • Malta Stock Exchange announces investigation

Brian Tonna, the managing partner of Nexia BT
Brian Tonna, the managing partner of Nexia BT

The golden passport licence of Brian Tonna’s BT International has been suspended by the government agency responsible for the Individual Investment Programme.

The move came a day after the partners of the firm’s parent company were slapped with a freezing order in the wake of a police investigation into money laundering and bribery.

The directors of BT International are Tonna, Karl Cini and Manuel Castagna. All have been included in the wide-ranging freezing order that now covers 92 companies and individuals.

In a short statement on its website, the Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency said it had “suspended the licence of BT International Limited, holders of licence IIP 003, until further notice”.

The Malta Stock Exchange has also suspended Nexia BT Advisory Services as a licensed corporate advisor due to an impending Exchange investigation.

“The suspension is due to the impending Exchange investigation in line with Prospects MTF Rules… Following this notification, Nexia BT Advisory Services Limited will no longer be approved to provide services to prospective or admitted Prospects MTF companies… till the Exchange investigation is complete.”

Tonna, Cini and former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri were arrested on Tuesday as part of the police investigation prompted by the conclusions of a magisterial inquiry.

The inquiry probed allegations that Schembri had received €100,000 in kickbacks from Tonna over the sale of Maltese citizenship to a Russian family.

Both have denied any wrongdoing, insisting the two payments of €50,000 each were repayment of a personal loan Schembri gave Tonna a few years back.

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