The Malta Financial Services Authority has directed the competent person it appointed to administer Satabank's assets to contact corporate customers to initiate the return of funds.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, the MFSA said customers were being contacted on a staggered basis. All Satabank corporate and personal customers with a balance above €50 had been contacted.

Accounts at Satabank, a small international bank, were effectively frozen by the MFSA in November, with EY (formerly Ernst and Young) appointed to administer the bank’s assets in “the best interests of depositors”.

The move came after a joint inspection and audit by the MFSA and Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit found shortcomings in the bank’s anti-money laundering procedures.

Depositors reportedly slipped into “a state of desperation” after they became unable to access their own funds.

In its statement on Wednesday, the MFSA said customers were provided with the details of all the information required and were encouraged to provide this as soon as possible.

Satabank, the authority said, had been working closely with the MFSA and other authorities to achieve the best possible outcome for customers.

The bank continued to fulfil all its capital and liquidity requirements.

Safeguarding depositors continued to be the MFSA's priority, the authority said.

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