MFSA announces regulatory action against Zenith

The Malta Financial Services Authority takes regulatory action against Zenith  

Matthew Pace, pictured above, was arraigned on Saturday for money laundering charges
Matthew Pace, pictured above, was arraigned on Saturday for money laundering charges

The Malta Financial Services Authority has announced that it has taken action against Zenit Finance. 

The company’s owner Matthew Pace and director Lorraine Falzon are currently being charged in court over money laundering.  

Testifying in court on Thursday, police said Pace was a “professional money launderer.” 

In a notice on Friday, the financial services regulator said “that the Company is not in a position to continue properly servicing its clients whilst adhering to the applicable legal requirements, particularly those relating to the fitness and properness of the Company, the fitness and properness of the Company's shareholders, as well as the Company's sound and prudent management.”  

“In this regard, on 26 March 2021 the MFSA directed the Company with immediate effect to: refrain from onboarding of new clients and refrain from providing existing clients with any new or additional services; Cease all outgoing transactions from the Company's client accounts, including intra-client account transactions; and Ensure that the Company and its directors maintain proper safeguard of all records relating to Zenith's operations, including its investment services activities. The Company should therefore not destroy, conceal or alter such records in any way," the statement read.  

The directives will remain in place until the MFSA may direct otherwise.  

“The MFSA has decided to appoint Mr Stephen Paris to occupy the role of a Competent Person for the Company in order to take charge of the assets of the Company, including any assets related to the investment services business of the Company for the purposes of safeguarding the interests of the investors and consumers of the Company; as well as to assume control of the business of the Company to carry on that business until such time,” it said.  

The MFSA also issued a second notice against Zenith Tied Insurance Intermediary, with the directives remaining in place until directed otherwise. It has also appointed Stephen Paris to occupy the role of a Qualified Person for the Company.  

The appointment of the Qualified Person shall remain in force for a period of one year.  

READ ALSO: Matthew Pace acted as a 'professional money launderer', police testify