Scandal-torn Nexia BT applies to Malta Stock Exchange for approval as corporate adviser

Published: February 22, 2017 at 9:35am

Nexia BT has applied to the Malta Stock Exchange for approval as a ‘corporate adviser’. Prospects Notice 01/2017 on the Malta Stock Exchange’s Prospects portal says:

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN in terms of Rule 3.01.02 that the Prospects Committee is in receipt of an application for approval as Corporate Advisor submitted by: Nexia BT Advisory Services Ltd (C 48584).

Any submissions in respect of such application shall be received in writing by not later than 1 March 2017. Submissions are to be addressed to The Secretary, Prospects Committee, Garrison Chapel, Castille Place, Valletta VLT 1063 on email [email protected].

Nexia BT Advisory Services Ltd is a fully-owned subsidiary of Nexia BT and controlled by Brian Tonna. Its directors are Nexia BT’s four partners: Brian Tonna, Karl Cini, Manuel Castagna and Anita Aloisio. The consultancy/accountancy firm has been constantly in the eye of a storm of scandal since February last year, when it was revealed that its directors, Brian Tonna and Karl Cini, had set up money-laundering structures in Panama and New Zealand for the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Energy and Health Minister Konrad Mizzi, and for a third unnamed person, and for Brian Tonna himself in the British Virgin Islands.

A few weeks later, this website also revealed that Nexia BT had set up another company in the British Virgin Islands for Cheng Chen, the Chinese citizen who negotiated with Konrad Mizzi on behalf of Shanghai Electric Power for the purchase of Enemalta Corporation and its assets.

This website also reported that in 2011, Brian Tonna and Karl Cini of Nexia BT had restructured companies in the British Virgin Islands, for heightened secrecy, that are owned by Keith Schembri, who later became the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, for his Kasco business partner Malcolm Scerri, and for Adrian Hillman, who until the news broke last year was managing director of Allied Newspapers Ltd, publishers of the Times of Malta and The Sunday Times, and of its associated printing company, Progress Press.

These companies were used for laundering money and for stripping legitimate Maltese businesses of profits through false invoicing, in a textbook tax evasion/money-laundering exercise. These companies are linked to offshore bank accounts through which large sums of money were moved.

A high-placed police source informs this website that information about these movements, complete with bank documents was passed on to then Commissioner of Police Michael Cassar by the then Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit chief, Manfred Galdes. Both men resigned their positions shortly afterwards, with Cassar going out on extended leave of absence days after receiving the report, and never returning to work, citing ‘health reasons’. He has since taken up a consultancy position with the Malta Security Services.

‘Prospects’ is the Malta Stock Exchange’s alternative list, and is designed for companies which are SMEs, new or family-run operations. The role of corporate advisers is to assist companies in obtaining and maintaining their listing on the exchange.

The Stock Exchange’s mandatory requirements for the eligibility of corporate advisors include the requirement that he or she “must be a person of good standing”.

Brian Tonna