Regulatory Monitor – Malta’s XNT hit by resignations of its directors!

MFSA regulated XNT loses 3 directors
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XNT LTD (previously known as Exante Ltd) is an investment firm incorporated in Malta and regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). Three directors resigned during the past months, namely Joseph Zammit Tabona, Michael Bianchi, and Lawrence Zammit. The present directors are Alexey Kirienko and Anatoly Knyazev; they have links with former Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, allegedly the most corrupt politician in 2019.

Part of the Exante Group

MFSA-regulated XNT is owned by another Maltese company, namely Lartemisis Holding Ltd, a holding company controlled by the three British Virgin Island firms, Nations Development Group Ltd, Stoic Ltd, and Zormax Ltd.

XNT is part of the Exante Group, which also includes EXT Ltd (www.exante.eu), regulated by the CySEC with license number 165/12. On its Linkedin page, Exante Group bills itself as a Wealthtech Company.

The Directors’ Exodus

Such massive resignations in a regulated entity should immediately trigger an investigation by the MFSA. No licensed EU firm would see the resignation of three board members within a few months without getting questions from the supervisory authority. Even more so, as KPMG was also removed from as an auditor of the company. One of the three directors who resigned, Joseph Zammit Tabona, acted as High Commissioner of Malta to the United Kingdom.

XNT Ltd, as a regulated firm, is supposed to be monitored by MFSA and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) of Malta. FIAU is being highly criticized for paying Maltese online portals and newspapers for positive reportage in its regard. This is very telling and indeed shocking for an EU member state. Malta has been placed on the grey list by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).  TheShiftnews in Malta has revealed that FIAU paid more than €63,000 to selected media houses in Malta in a bid for readers to read positive stories about FIAU. FIAU officials are under pressure in Malta for failing to take the necessary action in profoundly serious cases of possible money laundering. Amongst such cases, there is Pilatus Bank. The Deputy Director of FIAU, Alfred Zammit, had signed a letter exonerating Pilatus Bank from any wrongdoings. Strangely, this letter was signed after the FIAU director resigned.

The Relaxed Maltese Supervision

Kristina Arbociute with Patrik O'brian and Kenneth Farrugia

The FIAU has been under fire for employing persons like Kristina Arbociute. Up to a few weeks before joining the Malta authority responsible for fighting money laundering, she was working at XNT Ltd. The FBI investigated the company at the same time. Public photos reveal that Kristina Arbociute was very close to Patrick O’Brien, a top manager of XNT.

The company operates from Portomaso Tower, which is part of the empire of Yorgen Fenech, the alleged mastermind behind the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. It was revealed that the former CEO of MFSA, disgraced Joseph Cuschieri, together with MFSA legal counsel Edwina Licari, had traveled for leisure with Yorgen Fenech to Las Vegas. Fenech is currently in prison, awaiting a possible trial.

Kristina Arbociute with Patrik O'brian and Kenneth Farrugia

It is not known whether MFSA and FIAU ever investigated XNT. However, we do know that this Maltese company was investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The company was previously named Exante Ltd.

Rudolf Muscat FIAU

MFSA is also being accused of discriminatory action in various lawsuits against it. Christopher P. Buttigieg, who enjoyed a record number of promotions during Joe Cuschieri’s tenure at MFSA, still sits on the executive committee with disgraced Edwina Licari. Licari toured the world with her former boss at the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and MFSA, Joe Cuschieri, which was quite a scandal. Malta’s Auditor General has also found MFSA in breach of governance rules.

Another FIAU official responsible for such investigations is FIAU’s Rudolf Muscat. Courts revelations clearly showed that Rudolf Muscat failed to monitor Bitconvert, given that it was allowed to operate without a license. The head of enforcement at MFSA, Michelle Mizzi Buontempo, who also sits on MFSA’s executive committee, has not given any interviews about possible investigations on XNT Ltd.

CategoriesFIAU Malta

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