Accountancy Board suspends Brian Tonna and Karl Cini warrants

Nexia BT partners Brian Tonna and Karl Cini, and firms that belong to them have had their warrants and registrations suspended by the Accountancy Board

Brian Tonna (left) at the inauguration of Nexia BT’s offices, with then prime minister Joseph Muscat and partners Karl Cini and Manuel Castagna (File photo)
Brian Tonna (left) at the inauguration of Nexia BT’s offices, with then prime minister Joseph Muscat and partners Karl Cini and Manuel Castagna (File photo)

Brian Tonna and Karl Cini have lost their warrants to practice as accountants after the regulatory authority initiated disciplinary proceedings against them.

The decision was communicated by the Accountancy Board on Friday evening. The board also suspended the registration of Nexia BT, BTI Management Limited and Nexia BT Advisory Services Limited.

The decision was taken following the conclusion of the magisterial inquiry by Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras into allegations of kickbacks linked to the passport scheme and “related developments”.

The ‘related developments’ are purportedly linked to the police investigation prompted by the inquiry that saw the two men and former prime minister Joseph Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Schembri arrested. They were released on police bail as investigations continue.

Last Monday, the court imposed a wide-ranging freezing order on Schembri, Tonna and Cini, their companies and linked business associates.

In its statement, the Accountancy Board said it appointed a disciplinary committee to “consider and adjudge the charges imputed against Mr Brian Tonna, Mr Karl Cini, Nexia BT, BTI Management Limited and Nexia BT Advisory Services Limited”.

As a result, the board temporarily suspended Tonna’s and Cini’s CPA warrants and practising certificates in auditing, as well as the registration of their companies.

On Thursday, the Malta Financial Services Authority ordered BT International Limited and BTI Management Limited, companies owned by Tonna, to stop taking on new clients.

Tonna’s other firm that deals with golden passports also had its licence suspended by the IIP agency.

I've been writing to and asking the Malta Accountancy Board to do the right thing ever since Nexia BT's involvement in...

Posted by David Casa on Friday, 25 September 2020

In a Facebook post tonight, Nationalist MEP David Casa said the Accountancy Board’s decision “should have never taken so long”.

“I've been writing to and asking the Malta Accountancy Board to do the right thing ever since Nexia BT's involvement in the worst institutionalised corruption cases in our country came to light. Tonight, after numerous letters and requests, common sense has finally prevailed. It should have never taken so long,” Casa wrote.

Tonna is alleged to have paid Schembri €100,000 from the sale of Maltese citizenship to a Russian family.

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