Malta’s banking watchdog Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has urged to the European Central Bank (ECB) to cancel licence of scandal-hit Pilatus Bank.

MFSA has officially submitted the application seeking withdrawal of banking licence due to the criminal indictment Pilatus Bank’s only and ultimate beneficial owner Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad.

Last March, Nejad was arrested in the US over money laundering allegations.

In its statement, MFSA noted that, “As a result of this indictment, the MFSA is no longer satisfied that the UBO is a suitable person as required by the Banking Act.”

Additionally, Pilatus Bank was also found to have violated the liquidity coverage as required under law, following the indictment of Nejad.

All bank assets will continue to remain frozen on the basis of the MFSA sanctions imposed on 21 March 2018.

MFSA assured that it will take all necessary steps to protect the assets till the completion of the ongoing investigation over money laundering charges.

It added that further actions will be initiated after receiving the ECB’s assessment of this recommendation.

ECB is the authorised entity capable to withdraw licence of any financial service in the European Union.