BREAKING/Deutsche Bank shuts down Bank of Valletta’s correspondent-banking accounts

Published: June 14, 2017 at 11:51pm

Last week, the German banking giant Deutsche Bank took a decision to close down the accounts which Bank of Valletta holds with Deutsche/Bankers Trust for correspondent banking purposes, and through which the Maltese bank processes its US dollar transactions.

Bank of Valletta no longer has US correspondent banks of its own. They have all severed connections with the Maltese bank. It is now restricted to processing US dollar transactions indirectly through accounts held with other European banks like Deutsche Bank, which then process them through their US correspondent banks.

Though this website was informed of the decision last Thursday through sources at yet another Maltese bank, Bank of Valletta communicated the adverse news to its staff today, by means of a circular.

Deutsche Bank officials arrived in Malta this week for meetings at several banks with which the German bank does business.

A source at Bank of Valletta told this website: “Deutsche doesn’t want Bank of Valletta’s payments to be channelled through it any longer. Bank of Valletta’s US dollar transactions will now have to be channelled through other European banks with which BOV holds a US dollar account.

“That Deutsche Bank doesn’t want to be involved in payment transactions for Bank of Valletta, especially in US dollars via Bankers Trust in the United States, which Deutsche Bank owns, something must have triggered its concern – but I have no idea whether this decision was precautionary or reactive.”

Pilatus Bank, which is at the centre of an extensive money-laundering scandal and inquiry involving members of Azerbaijan’s and Malta’s ruling elite, holds accounts with Bank of Valletta which it uses to process transactions through BOV’s own correspondent banks.

Pilatus Bank, which was licensed by the Malta Financial Services Authority in January 2014 despite internal controversy over its sources of funds, is owned – through a company incorporated in Hong Kong – by an Iranian in his 30s, Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, who travels on a St Kitts & Nevis passport which he bought through Henley & Partners in 2009.