With Satabank funds frozen for the past month and a return scheme still nowhere in sight, a group of bank clients has announced plans to turn up the pressure with a week of protests.
The first protest is scheduled for this Sunday at 1pm in front of the Triton Foundation in Valletta, with successive protests scheduled outside the offices of EY, the MFSA, the Economy Ministry and Castille.
The protest is themed “No money for Food? Let’s lunch at your Office”, and while the phrase may sounds humorous, it reflects an extremely dire situation. Satabank clients weren’t given notice of the MFSA’s money laundering clampdown on the St Julians’ based bank, meaning many ended up with only the money in their wallets when the hammer was brought down last month.
“It’s a nightmare. People cannot even begin to understand what we’re going through,” a client told The Times recently. “My lifestyle had to change overnight. I started eating the things I had in the fridge and freezer but now that’s empty and I’m living on just bread and cheese.”
Around 12,000 people held accounts at Satabank, mostly foreign residents who were unable to pass the stringent requirements set by other Maltese banks for foreign account holders. The MFSA has assured Satabank clients that their money is safe in the hands of EY, the bank’s administrator, and has informed local banks that EU law entitles all Maltese residents to a basic bank account. Yet time is of the essence and it is running out fast…