The Malta Financial Services Authority on Thursday appointed a former US financial regulator to take charge of all Pilatus Bank assets, a day after its chairman was arrested in the US.

In a statement, the MFSA said Lawrence Connell had been appointed as a ‘competent person’ to take charge of all assets of the controversial bank including assets related to the investment services business of the bank.

He will also assume control of the bank’s banking and investment services business and continue carrying on that business until such time as the MFSA may direct.

Born in 1936, Mr Connell has enjoyed a long career as a US financial regulator at both state and federal levels.

The appointment follows hot on the heels of a directive on Wednesday freezing all the assets of the bank, hours after its chairman was arrested in the US.

Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad was arrested on charges that he had violated US sanctions.

Earlier, it also suspended Mr Hashemi Nejad's chairmanship of the bank.

It said in its notice on Thursday that the measures shall remain in place until such time as it may direct otherwise.

Any communication in relation to the bank should be addressed on 2779 9999.

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