Update: The commission has since said the accounts have now been found.
The commissioner for voluntary organisations has warned he may take legal action against a charity foundation run by cryptocurrency firm Binance over its repeated failure to file accounts.
Times of Malta on Monday revealed that the foundation is being chased in court by the Malta Community Chest Fund, which wants it to make good on cryptocurrency pledges it had made for cancer patients that are now worth over €7 million.
In a letter that was sent on July 23, the office of the commissioner accused the foundation of “ignoring” yearly reminders to file its accounts for 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“In fact, this letter is being sent to you at your address as, despite many attempts to trace the organisation on the given address and contact numbers supplied in file, no response was forthcoming and all communication ignored,” the watchdog wrote to the foundation’s administrators.
The commissioner’s office warned it was also reserving the right to report the matter to the police.
Binance’s Blockchain Charity Foundation had said on its website that its financial statements were being reviewed by an auditor and would be submitted to the commissioner for voluntary organisations by August 2019, in adherence with local regulations.
Once the darling of the government’s blockchain island dreams, Binance, known as the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has since abandoned its attempts to gain a licence to operate in Malta.
No response forthcoming and all communication ignored
The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has published multiple warnings about how it is not licensed nor authorised to operate in the virtual assets sector.
Nationalist and opposition leader Bernard Grech on Monday slammed the government for its role in the blockchain island failure.
“Blockchain island could have been a reality but, because of its incompetence and corruption, this government turned it into a disaster,” he charged.
“But not before using cancer patients to make it look like there was something in it for the Maltese citizen.”
But in a statement on Tuesday the government said it had never involved itself in the drawing up or implementation of private agreements between the MCCFF and private companies.
It criticised the opposition for its "irresponsible" statement and said it will continue to be focused on creating wealth and helping people.
Former president Marie Louise Coleiro Preca had in 2018 agreed to chair the foundation’s senior advisory group.
Coleiro Preca told Times of Malta she was never invited to attend any meetings of the advisory board, nor was she aware of any meetings being held.
“It was only when you brought this matter to my attention that I realised I am still listed on their website,” she said last week.
The Malta Community Chest Fund has claimed in court that numerous attempts to facilitate the transfer of funds from the Binance foundation to cancer patients proved futile.
It has since filed an injunction to prevent Binance from liquidating the foundation and relocating its assets to the US.
The Binance foundation’s legal representatives have in turn argued that the funds were intended for disbursement directly to cancer patients, with the Malta Community Chest Fund’s role being purely to request the transfer of funds to such patients in accordance with a donation plan.