The Malta Financial Services Authority said this afternoon that the application by Pilatus Bank for a licence as a credit institution in Malta was processed and assessed in full compliance with applicable legal requirements and in accordance with the Authority's authorisation procedures for the granting of a credit institution licence.
The bank was granted a licence in 2014.
"Pilatus Bank is subject to all prudential and supervisory rules and on-going supervisory procedures of the MFSA applicable to credit institutions," it said, recalling that its inspectors made an on-site inspection in 2015.
"The MFSA is an independent authority. It has cooperated and continues to cooperate with other competent authorities as necessary," the regulator said.
Pilatus is at the centre of controversy after blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia reported on Thursday how documents of trust held in the bank's possession showed Michelle Muscat as being the beneficial owner of a Panama company.
MALTA'S REPUTATION BEING QUESTIONED
The Institute of Financial Services Providers also referred to the controversy in a statement, saying that the events that unfolded over the past week would undoubtedly result in the questioning of Malta’s reputation and consequently have a detrimental impact on its attractiveness as a domicile of choice for international investors.
It said it was concerned that the ethical fibre of the entire financial services industry in Malta was being called into question 'in such a facetious manner.'
The institute said the responsible institutions and law enforcement agencies should fulfil their functions and be held accountable for their actions. The rule of law was key to the proper functioning of a country, particularly a financial services
"It is essential that the responsible institutions and law enforcement agencies should effectively, and in a timely manner, take all necessary steps to ensure that the law is enforced, or our country's reputation will be irremediably tarnished. Each of the State’s institutions and authorities should uphold the powers vested in them in terms of law. This is essential to restore the stability the country needs in order to function effectively, which stability has been disturbed by the current state of affairs.
The IFSP is concerned that there now appears to be a breakdown of the rule of law.
"It is this very instability, also caused by the manner in which recent allegations have been handled by our institutions and law enforcement agencies, that is threatening our financial services industry, which has over the years become one of the pillars of the Maltese economy."
The IFSP said it was concerned that there now appeared to be a breakdown of the rule of law, and one could not underestimate the impact which this had on foreign investors who were investing their money and time in Malta.
The IFSP urged all competent authorities and law enforcement agencies to use all the powers vested in them in terms of law to investigate any and all allegations, and ensure that the law is enforced.