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MFSA gets criticised whether it acts or not, PM says

'Government will continue to defend MFSA'

The Malta Financial Services Authority will get criticised whether it acts or not, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.

"If the regulator does not act, there is criticism that it is being too easy, if it does act then it is accused of suffocating the financial sector. The regulator always acted autonomously, always decided. The government will continue to defend its work," he said.

He was speaking days after the Chamber of SMEs (GRTU) said businesses were suffering after accounts at Satabank were frozen by the financial watchdog.

The GRTU said businesses were on the verge of closing down because they could no longer pay wages or rent.

"Hundreds of businesses are unable to trade. The level of pressure and stress these people are suffering is uncalled for," the GRTU said on Thursday.

Speaking on the fringes of a conference announcing the upgrading of a suite at Mater Dei Hospital, Dr Muscat also noted a European Commission report that urged Malta to step up its supervision of banks.

The Commission said it had adopted an opinion requiring the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) to continue taking additional measures to fully comply with its obligations under the fourth anti-money laundering directive.

"The way the opinion was worded shows that the government is doing a lot of work," Dr Muscat said.

He noted the European Commission asked authorities to do more, adding that other countries like Denmark were being investigated.

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