Minister Scicluna admits existence of ‘small rogue element’
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.’