Former minister Michael Falzon suspends himself from oil committee, political activity, over Swiss account

Former Minister Michael Falzon said today he was suspending himself from all political activities within the PN and withdrawing from his position as observer on the Oil Procurement Committee because of questions over a former Swiss account. He said however that his position has been regularised.

In a statement he said: "Last Wednesday I received a telephone call from a journalist in which I was asked to confirm that I used to have account at HSBC Genève. I had no problem in confirming that this information was correct.

I have reason to believe that this information is going to be published in a Sunday paper tomorrow. In the circumstances I would like to give some background about this account.

Between 1975 and 1985, I was involved with other Maltese professionals in an Architectural and Civil Engineering consultancy providing services abroad. These services were provided under the aegis of a Maltese registered company of which I was shareholder and director.

The first big job that this company worked on had been entrusted to it in partnership with a Swiss architectural firm. This necessitated frequent visits to Switzerland and the opening of bank accounts to which funds were affected by the Swiss partners and eventually to the Maltese company.

When the company was liquidated, and considering the political situation in Malta in 1985-87, I decided to retain a Swiss account in my name. I want to make it clear that the money came from payments for professional activities abroad for foreign clients that were carried out before I became a Minister in 1987 and that no moneys originating from Malta or from third parties were ever deposited in this account. In fact, I had no other foreign accounts

In about 2002 I decided to transfer the account to HSBC Genève and some six years later the money was again transferred to another bank. The amount of money in this account was circa LM200,000 (€460,000).

Eventually all the money in the account was repatriated to Malta and today I have no money deposited in any Swiss bank or any other foreign bank whatsoever.

My fiscal position in Malta has long ago been regularised.

Although it is evident that the said account has no connection whatsoever with my past political activities, I have decided to suspend myself for the time being from all the political activities within the structure of the PN. For the time being, I am also withdrawing from my position as observer on the Oil Procurement Committee."

A leaked list of HSBC Swiss account holders was published by the international media earlier this month. 

It showed that $687 million were held by HSBC for 71 Maltese clients in Geneva.

The lion’s share, $629.7m, were in the name of a single account holder.

34 per cent of Malta-linked clients held a Maltese passport. Person-linked accounts totalled 60 per cent while 30 per cent of the accounts were “numbered”. Another 10 per cent belonged to offshore companies.

The only account-holder named so far was Tancred Tabone, former chairman of Enemalta, who is undergoing court proceedings in connection with the oil procurement scandal.

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