Former Finance Minister Edward Scicluna has defended his record as the country’s finance minister, insisting he had never defended the now-shuttered Pilatus Bank.
In comments to the Times of Malta the day after the bank and one of its officials were charged with money laundering, Scicluna pointed to the fact that the Financial Investigations Analysis Unit (FIAU) had benefited from a significant increase in funding and resources during his tenure.
Scicluna was Malta’s finance minister between 2013 and 2020, when he resigned from Parliament to take up the role of governor of the Central Bank.
Scicluna insisted that he had never defended the bank during his time as minister. The bank was closed in 2018, despite serious money laundering concerns having been raised by the FIAU back in 2016.
Despite the concerns, a follow-up investigation by the FIAU had given the bank a clean bill of health.
The bank was at the centre of the allegation that former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s wife Michelle was the beneficial owner of the Panamanian company Egrant, which was alleged by Daphne Caruana Galizia to have held an account at Pilatus Bank.
Scicluna also argued that he was “instrumental” in Malta carrying out its first money laundering national risk assessment in 2013, while also insisting that he had always given his “full moral support” to FIAU directors that served during his time.
The former finance minister had cast doubts back in 2017, shortly after Labour won the general election, about the FIAU’s work, telling Parliament that he believed FIAU reports about the bank had been written to be leaked.
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