Central Bank: payments to Pilatus creditors in line with administrative measures

Central Bank denies MP’s accusations that payments made under pressure by government, saying all transactions in line with basic function of acting as banker to the banks 

The Central Bank of Malta insisted that any payments to the creditors of Pilatus Bank were in line with administrative measures implemented by the MFSA.  

The bank also denied accusations that it was pressured by the Office of the Prime Minister to make payments to Pilatus Bank’s creditors, as alleged by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi.

The statement responded to yesterday’s parliamentary question, in which Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi asked finance minister Edward Scicluna whether the Central Bank of Malta (CBM) paid any online direct credit of €129,000 to the creditors of Pilatus Bank.

The CBM did not deny such payments were made but explained that this was part of its function of acting as banker to the banks.

In response, CBM said that in line of basic function of acting as banker to the banks, all credit institutions licensed by the MFSA are obliged at law to operate a reserve deposit account with the Central Bank of Malta.

“Each transaction undertaken by the said credit institution through its account held at the Central Bank is conducted with the explicit approval of the said competent person,” CBM said.

Pilatus Bank is currently under administration, run by a ‘competent person’ appointed by the MFSA after its owner Ali Sadr Hasheminejad was charged in the US with sanctions busting against Iran.

The CBM said its actions were in line with the administrative measures implemented by the MFSA, and therefore, there was no new measure taken by the Central Bank that needed to be communicated to the public.

The Bank went on to say that such transaction by the CBM, like all transactions by all licensed credit institutions, are effected by the staff of the Central Bank’s Payments and Banking Department.   

Nationalist MEP David Casa yesterday wrote to the chairperson of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank, requesting a probe into the  €129,000 payment allegation.

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