Opposition Leader Adrian Delia on Tuesday evening questioned whether Bank of Valletta had been pressured by the government to offer services to Pilatus Bank, despite the latter having failed to meet due diligence criteria.

Dr Delia raised the questions in a brief interview on Net Television in which he expressed concern that the government’s handling of Pilatus Bank was threatening Malta’s reputation in the financial service sector.

He noted that in order for Pilatus to establish itself in Malta it needed what is technically known as a correspondent bank - a financial institution that provides services on behalf of another financial institution, to facilitate wire transfers, make business transactions, accept deposits and gather documents on behalf of another financial institution.

The PN leader questioned if BOV had been approached to offer such services. He also asked about the outcome of the due diligence process performed on Pilatus Bank by Bank of Valletta. Was it accepted or did it fail? Did BOV refuse a request to open an account for Pilatus Bank?.

“Was BOV pressured to still open such an account? If yes were the orders given by a politician, a bank official or someone from a State authority?” he asked.

Dr Delia added that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Finance Minister Edward Scicluna were bound to reply to these questions as soon as possible in order to quell any doubts on the matter.

The PN leader reiterated his call for the revocation of the Pilatus Bank licence, and an investigation into the source of the funds used for the bank’s initial capital.

The probe should also establish what form of due diligence was carried out by the Malta Financial Services Authority and the identity of any public figures who had a Pilatus account, Dr Delia said.

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