Satabank account holders are struggling to make ends meet, with some saying they can only afford buying bread and cheese.
One of them, who spoke to Times of Malta on condition of anonymity, said on Tuesday he was living day by day, hoping the little he had could be stretched as much as possible.
“It’s a nightmare. People cannot even begin to understand what we’re going through. My lifestyle had to change overnight. I started eating the things I had in the fridge and freezer but now that’s empty and I’m living on just bread and cheese,” the man said.
He said he had heard similar stories from other account holders queuing outside the bank’s offices in St Julian’s.
Accounts at Satabank, a small international bank, were effectively frozen by the Malta Financial Services Authority last month, with EY (formerly Ernst and Young) appointed to administer the bank’s assets in “the best interests of depositors”.
The move had come after a joint inspection and audit by the MFSA and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit found shortcomings in the bank’s anti-money laundering procedures.
Depositors have reportedly slipped into “a state of desperation” after they became unable to access their own funds and some had even taken to physically waiting outside Satabank’s offices in a desperate bid to find out what would happen to their money.
Sources close to those involved in overseeing the process said Satabank held about €300 million in customer deposits. Still, account holders do not have access to their own money.
“I asked them to release just €10 a day but they wouldn’t have it. I cannot imagine those account holders who have children. What are they living on,” the man mentioned earlier wondered.
“I have been without my medication for three weeks now because I also do not have the money to buy the pills. The money is there but it’s though it does not belong to us.
“Satabank simply couldn’t be bothered. I went there, I wrote to them and nothing. Brick wall. Even EY did not reply to my queries. It’s simply not fair because that money is mine,” the frustrated man added.
“I spend about €200 each month on pills. Without them my health is at risk. Who will be responsible for all this?”
The account holder said he was worried he would not be able to settle the water and electricity bills, risking having the services suspended.
Even the telephone and internet company told him the bank trouble was not their problem and that he would have to pay for the service anyway.
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