A statement issued by Bank of Valletta p.l.c. refers to an article appearing in The Malta Independent on Sunday entitled “€393 million in Bank of Valletta assets seized in Italy.”
Last March the Bank announced that the Italian courts had issued a “sequestro conservattivo” against the Bank for the amount of €363 million. Contrary to the impression given in the article referred to, no other court order has been issued since. Indeed it is totally incorrect to state that “The BOV-held securities worth an equivalent of €393 million had been frozen at the time and have now been seized.”
Contrary to the impression given in the said article, none of the Bank’s assets have been seized or confiscated. To ensure seamless continued banking operations, the Bank placed on its own initiative the whole amount of the sequestro conservattivo with another bank, pending the appeal proceeding. However, these assets still belong to the Bank, held in the Bank’s own name and for its own benefit. Therefore, nothing has changed since the bank’s statement of last March.
As already announced in March, the Bank has appealed the court decision authorising the issuance of the sequestro conservattivo and the hearing of that appeal has not yet taken place. The article also fails to correctly report the very allegations being made by the plaintiffs against the Bank and contains various other incorrect statements. For example, the Bank was never in possession of any funds as a trustee when it was established in 2009, and the only trust assets it held consisted of shares in a Madeira registered company, part of the Deiulemar Group, which was declared bankrupt in 2012.
The Bank reiterates that it is determined to take all the action required in any forum to defend itself against the unfounded allegations being levelled against it in the Italian Court of Torre Annunziata, as and when necessary. In the meantime, the Bank will keep the market informed of any material developments in this case. The Bank will continue to update regulators on any developments as they arise.