Min­is­ter Sci­cluna ad­mits ex­is­tence of ‘small rogue el­e­ment’

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

In a let­ter which ap­peared on the Fi­nan­cial Times of Mon­day 23 April, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ed­ward Sci­cluna de­fended Malta’s fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor from at­tacks and slurs.

As hap­pened with the let­ter by the head of gov­ern­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Kurt Far­ru­gia to the Guardian (see The Malta In­de­pen­dent, 2 May pg 4) the let­ter by Min­is­ter Sci­cluna was not dis­sem­i­nated in Malta.

En­ti­tled ‘Malta’s achieve­ments de­serve a bet­ter press’, Min­is­ter Sci­cluna wrote: You have devoted a sig­nif­i­cant amount of cov­er­age re­cently to Malta and its fi­nan­cial ser­vices in­dus­try (April 17).

‘While we wel­come the at­ten­tion, and your recog­ni­tion of Val­letta’s highly suc­cess­ful role as the 2018 Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture, I do not feel you have de­picted our fi­nan­cial ser­vices in­dus­try ei­ther ac­cu­rately or fairly.

‘Malta’s fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor is now a ma­jor force in our coun­try’s econ­omy and ser­vices the needs of a grow­ing range of banks, as­set man­agers and in­sur­ance com­pa­nies. We of­fer in­sti­tu­tions a well-trained and highly mo­ti­vated work­force, a strong reg­u­la­tory and gov­er­nance frame­work, clear and trans­par­ent leg­is­la­tion and rule of law, a low-cost en­vi­ron­ment and, crit­i­cally, ac­cess to the sin­gle mar­ket thanks to our proud mem­ber­ship of the EU.

‘In re­cent years, ev­ery fi­nan­cial cen­tre in the world has had to face sig­nif­i­cant reg­u­la­tory and le­gal is­sues. There are law­break­ers and fraud­sters ev­ery­where, and it would be wrong to sin­gle out any one ju­ris­dic­tion. The is­sue is how one deals with them.

‘In the cases that your ar­ti­cles cite, the killing of Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia was an ap­palling tragedy and one that should not go un­pun­ished. The Mal­tese po­lice have al­ready charged three peo­ple in con­nec­tion with her mur­der and their in­ves­ti­ga­tion is con­tin­u­ing. Jus­tice will pre­vail.

‘In the case of Pi­la­tus Bank, the author­i­ties have seized con­trol of that in­sti­tu­tion. We are co­op­er­at­ing with in­ter­na­tional crime agen­cies and reg­u­la­tors to un­cover any po­ten­tial wrong­do­ing and take ef­fec­tive ac­tion.

‘Fi­nally, this month I launched a strin­gent anti-money laun­der­ing and cor­rup­tion ini­tia­tive over­seen by a per­ma­nent Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tion Com­mit­tee, de­signed to strengthen our work in this area. We are deeply com­mit­ted to pre­vent­ing, de­tect­ing and pros­e­cut­ing any crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity.

‘I ask you and your read­ers to judge the Mal­tese fi­nan­cial sec­tor by the ded­i­ca­tion of thou­sands of pro­fes­sion­als, and by the work we are do­ing to build it for the fu­ture, rather than the ac­tiv­i­ties of a small rogue el­e­ment.’

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