Malta’s Accounting Board will not revoke any of Nexia BT officals’ accounting warrants before the conclusions of four-year inquiry on financial crimes is published.
Yesterday, consultancy firm Nexia BT’s Karl Cini, Brian Tonna were arrested in connection to money-laundering claims involving the state’s citizenship-buying scheme, launched under the previous administration.
“At time of writing, the Board does not have access as yet to the conclusions of the Magisterial Inquiry,” head of the Accounting Board Martin Spiteri told Lovin Malta. “The Accountancy Board is evaluating circumstances as they evolve, and will be taking appropriate action according to law when it has the full facts of the case in hand.”
MEP David Casa demanded that the warrants of the men be revoked immediately. However, the only action taken by the board was earlier this year, and only included a reprimand against Nexia BT for failing to carry out a statutory audit.
On the day of their arrest, Nexia BT managing director Brian Tonna announced that the firm will no longer offer advisory, accounting and audit services, and that rival firm Reanda Malta would take over several areas of the company.
However, Reanda Malta’s director Robert Borg denied this.
A leaked report by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit found that ex-OPM Chief-Of-Staff Keith Schembri received two €50,000 payments from Brian Tonna through now-closed Pilatus Bank. It was made through Tonna’s shell company in the British Virgin Islands called Willerby Trading.
It is alleged that the €100,000 was garnered illicitly by selling passports to three Russian nationals.
Former OPM Chief-Of-Staff Keith Schembri was also arrested but was released on police bail less than a day later. All have had their assets frozen by court order, as well as over 100 companies.
However, Tonna and Schembri have denied these allegations, claiming that the €100,000 was a repayment of a personal loan given to Tonna during his separation.
But the FIAU hasn’t found a strain of evidence proving such a loan even existed.
What do you make of this?