Client can­not pay for med­i­ca­tion, risk­ing heart at­tack

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - Re­bekah Cilia

A Satabank ac­count holder can no longer fund his di­a­betes and blood pres­sure med­i­ca­tion af­ter hav­ing his only in­come trapped in the bank.

The in­di­vid­ual spoke to The Malta In­de­pen­dent on Sun­day say­ing he re­quires a large amount of med­i­ca­tion cost­ing him about €180 per month. “I have not told any­one yet but at the mo­ment I am not tak­ing any med­i­ca­tion be­cause I can­not fund it. Since I have di­a­betes and high blood pres­sure, with­out my med­i­ca­tion I could get a heart at­tack or a stroke.”

The Satabank client is re­tired but does not re­ceive his pen­sion from the UK un­til next year. As a re­sult his only in­come is from the money he has se­cured in his Satabank ac­count.

Satabank was or­dered to stop tak­ing de­posits and had its St Ju­lian’s branch closed last month in the wake of short­com­ings in the bank’s an­ti­money laun­der­ing pro­ce­dures.

Day-to-day es­sen­tials have also been dif­fi­cult for this in­di­vid­ual to pur­chase say­ing he now owes money to a num­ber of dif­fer­ent peo­ple. Some peo­ple have been par­tic­u­larly un­der­stand­ing of the whole sit­u­a­tion with some of­fer­ing money with­out him even ask­ing for it. “I should not have to do this,” the ac­count holder ex­claims.

This in­di­vid­ual has even spo­ken to his phone net­work provider ex­plain­ing the sit­u­a­tion but was told there is noth­ing that can be done.

Ques­tions and an­swers were fi­nally is­sued by the Malta Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Au­thor­ity on Fri­day evening about the sit­u­a­tion. Cus­tomers are re­quired to set up an­other ac­count with a credit or pay­ment in­sti­tu­tion in an EU/EEA ju­ris­dic­tion in the same name as the cus­tomer name on the Satabank ac­count.

This Satabank client did as was ad­vised but “as soon as they ask you who you are bank­ing with at the mo­ment and why do you want to move, once they hear Satabank their an­swer is we are very sorry we can­not help you.”

He has ba­si­cally been black­listed from open­ing an ac­count with a bank in Malta. The in­di­vid­ual also con­firms that he is try­ing to open an ac­count with an­other bank but this is also prov­ing to be very dif­fi­cult with a num­ber of doc­u­ments be­ing re­quested.

Since his main source of in­come is from the money in the Satabank ac­count he has no re­cent pay-slips to show. Fur­ther­more, he lives in an apart­ment where he does not pay rent as it was pro­vided for in his mother’s will. As a re­sult the doc­u­ments be­ing re­quested by the bank are dif­fi­cult for him to pro­vide.

The ac­count holder can­not un­der­stand why his money has been blocked when it was ob­tained “in a 100 per cent gen­uine man­ner, not through money laun­der­ing but from in­her­i­tance.”

He does not com­pre­hend why peo­ple like him had their ac­counts frozen when his funds do not even com­pare to the large amount of money as­so­ci­ated with the gam­ing com­pa­nies. “Even if they let us take €50 per day that would re­ally make a dif­fer­ence.”

On the Mon­day when he heard that ac­counts had been frozen at Satabank, he tried to ring them but re­ceived no an­swer. So he went down quickly to the bank see­ing around 20 to 30 peo­ple wait­ing out­side.

The clients were asked to come back at 1pm as there was no in­for­ma­tion they could pro­vide at that point. He went back at 1pm de­mand­ing to speak to some­one but was told to wait in a queue to be called in when they were ready. They were even­tu­ally told to write to Satabank.

“I have since writ­ten five emails and all you get is a quick auto re­ply fol­lowed by a stan­dard let­ter a few hours later. It says they will re­ply back to you as soon as pos­si­ble. Of course they never do.”

He also says that two num­bers pro­vided to the clients to con­tact the bank are not an­swered lo­cally but by a call cen­tre in Bul­garia.

“I have also tried to speak to the ar­bi­tra­tor but they said there is noth­ing they can do. I also sent a long email to Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Muscat to which some­one in his of­fice replied ask­ing me what sort of bank ac­count are you try­ing to open? She did not read my email com­pletely. I fol­lowed up with more emails but have not re­ceived a re­ply.”

“This sit­u­a­tion is be­ing han­dled so badly. I have seen peo­ple com­ing from the UK and other parts of the EU just to find out what is go­ing on. They keep say­ing money is go­ing to be re­leased but they do not say when.”

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