Updated 5.30pm with Central Bank statement

Satabank plc has been directed by the Malta Financial Services Authority to refrain, cease and desist from taking further deposits into the accounts of its current customers.

Times of Malta reported on Monday a joint inspection and audit by the MFSA and FIAU found shortcomings in the bank’s anti-money laundering procedures.

The bank has also been directed to refrain from accepting any new customers, affecting or processing any withdrawal or outward transfers from any accounts it held and from effecting any transfer, sale, placement or any other movements of its or its customers’ assets.

It has also been ordered to retain and preserve all records, data and documents relating to its business and its clients, including those on its IT systems and networks whether in Malta or in any other jurisdiction, as well as any other documentation which related to its business in any way.

It has been requested to ensure that all such records, data and documents were kept safe and not altered, destroyed, erased, concealed or disposed of in any manner and that these were accessible at any time to the authority and/or any person appointed by the authority in terms of law.

The MFSA has also asked Ernst & Young, as competent person' to take charge of the bank’s assets for the purpose of safeguarding the interests of depositors and to assume control of the bank’s business.

In a statement, the Central Bank said that following MFSA's decision to scale up the appointment of the competent person to take charge of the assets and assume control of the bank's business of this bank, it decided to suspend with immediate effect the participation of Satabank plc in TARGET2-Malta.

The Central Bank said Satabank plc is a small international bank and these measures will have minimal impact on the domestic economy.

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