BOV silent on Steward loan and chief risk officer's position

BOV refuses to answer questions about individuals and clients when prompted on its €35 million loan to Steward Healthcare and the alleged resignation of its Chief Risk Officer

BOV Chief Risk Officer Miguel Borg
BOV Chief Risk Officer Miguel Borg

BOV has refused to comment on media reports concerning a €35 million loan to Steward Healthcare and the reported resignation of its Chief Risk Officer.

In a statement to the media, while delivering its financial results for last year, the bank insisted that it will not comment on individual employees or clients so as to maintain confidentiality and not prejudice its interests, as per company policy.

“It is a stance dictated by prudence in the context of commenting on individual employees and their situation. When the time comes, and should the time come, that some news would require a company announcement, we will do just that,” BOV Chairman Gordon Cordina told journalists.

On Wednesday, author Mark Camilleri reported that the bank’s executive director and chief risk officer Miguel Borg stepped down, telling staff that he will no longer be in charge of vetting multi-million loan facilities.

Borg was not present for the publication of the bank’s financial results.

It was under his oversight that the bank approved a €36 million loan for Steward Healthcare, being the only local bank to provide financing to the company.

The company bought the concession originally awarded to Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) to operate three public hospitals in Malta.

But last month, a court annulled all contracts awarded as part of the concession, declaring it fraudulent.

BOV: no instances of fraud involving employees

Meanwhile, in its statement, Bank of Valletta reported that there have been "no instances of fraud or suspected fraud that the bank is aware of involving the Group’s management or employees who have significant roles in internal control". It reiterated that there have been no known instances of non-compliance or suspected non-compliance with laws and regulations.

Cordina insisted no material decision is dependent on "any single individual or group", adding that the bank’s fundamental principles in managing its reputation were based on "robust onboarding and credit governance and management practices effected through all of its lines of defence".