A Satabank client has opened up about the immediate impact the MFSA’s recent freezing of the bank’s assets had on his life.
“I keep all my private and business money in Satabank and I now have problems paying salaries to my crew, and in fact my business has collapsed,” Alex, a Ukrainian ship operator based in Malta, told the newly-launched Malta News. “My private life has collapsed too. Everything changed on Sunday morning when my wife could no longer make credit card payments for her treatment at a German hospital or even for the hotel she was staying at. Our friends in Germany helped us pay for the hotel and she returned to Malta on Wednesday evening.”
Satabank was for years renowned as the bank of choice for foreigners who encounter difficulties setting up accounts with one of the island’s major banks. However, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) last week ordered the freezing of the bank’s assets and appointed a controller to take control of it after a joint investigation with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) found shortcomings in its anti-money laundering procedures.
Although the MFSA has assured Satabank clients that their money is safe, it has also informed them it would likely take “several weeks” before they are able to access it.
It added that the release of funds will be subject to unspecified controls and checks and that Satabank customers will have to provide details of another bank account in an EU/EEA jurisdiction opened in the same name as their Satabank accounts.