Nexia BT will no longer be able to provide advisory services to MTF companies following a decision taken by the Malta Stock Exchange to withdraw its corporate advisor authorisation.
“It was in the best interests of the market, investor protection and in the best interests of the Exchange to cancel the Corporate Advisor status,” the Malta Stock Exchange said in a press release earlier today.
The decision has been taken with immediate effect following a court order which froze the assets of nearly 100 companies and people, including Nexia BT and its managing directors Brian Tonna, Karl Cini and Manuel Castagna, as a result of an inquiry into an alleged money laundering scheme involving kickbacks from the investment-for-citizenship scheme.
The court order also extended to former Prime Minister’s Chief-of-Staff Keith Schembri.
All four men were arrested last week but they were released after no charges were brought against them. They are out on police bail. The Accountancy Board has since removed Tonna and Cini’s accountancy warrants.
A leaked report by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) found that Tonna transferred two €50,000 payments through Pilatus Bank to Schembri in what is believed to have been part of a passport kickbacks scheme.
Both men have denied any wrongdoing and said the €100,000 was the repayment of a personal loan given to Tonna by Schembri while the former underwent separation proceedings.
The loan was repaid through Willerby Trading, a British Virgin Islands shell company secretly owned by Tonna.
The same FIAU report also raised suspicions of the loan document presented to the bank to justify the payments after finding no trace of the original loan payment by Schembri to Tonna.
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