Casa requests ECB probe into allegation of Central Bank payments to Pilatus creditors

Nationalist MEP says MP’s allegation in parliament that Central Bank paid off Pilatus creditors €129,000 has to be investigated forthwith

Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi
Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi

Nationalist MEP David Casa has written to the chairperson of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank, alerting her to an alleged €129,000 payment by the Central Bank to creditors of private bank Pilatus.

The bank is now under controllership since the arrest of chairman and owner Ali Sadr Hasheminejad in the United States on counts of breaching Iran sanctions.

The case was brought up by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi in questions submitted to finance minister Edward Scicluna, who said he was not aware of the allegations.

Azzopardi asked Scicluna to confirm that in March 2018, the Central Bank of Malta had paid by online direct credit the sum of €129,000 to the creditors of Pilatus Bank.

The MP also said that deputy governor Sandro Demarco was dealing with the matter and that it was being handled with secrecy.

Casa said that he had immediately reacted to the revelation with a letter to Daniele Nouy, the chairperson of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank, to investigate such facts.

Casa said he had asked the ECB to establish whether such funds originated from Pilatus Bank’s personal accounts or were funded by the Maltese taxpayer, and if it is the latter, it should be investigated how Pilatus Bank plans to reimburse such funds;

Assess whether such transfers were necessary to safeguard the stability of the banking system in accordance with EU rules; investigate whether MFSA authorisation was necessary for these transfers to take place and whether it was given; and monitor thoroughly all transactions effected by the Central Bank of Malta on behalf of Pilatus Bank.

Casa said the allegation had “serious implications and the fact that such transfers have been kept secret for the past weeks speaks volumes.”

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