Author: Jacob Borg

The office of the commissioner for voluntary organisations has ‘found’ accounts filed by Binance’s Blockchain Charity Foundation, days after threatening to take legal action over its failure to submit them. A spokesperson for the office said it had since come to their attention that the accounts had been filed, and hence any legal action was not going to be pursued. “The documents were submitted in September 2020 and were found in an electronic folder. Any inconvenience is regretted”, the spokesperson said. The climbdown came just four days after the watchdog wrote to the foundation’s administrators, threatening legal action over its…

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The commissioner for voluntary organisations has warned he may take legal action against a charity foundation run by cryptocurrency firm Binance over its repeated failure to file accounts. Times of Malta on Monday revealed that the foundation is being chased in court by the Malta Community Chest Fund, which wants it to make good on cryptocurrency pledges it had made for cancer patients that are now worth over €7 million. In a letter that was sent on July 23, the office of the commissioner accused the foundation of “ignoring” yearly reminders to file its accounts for 2018, 2019 and 2020.…

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The Malta Community Chest Fund has gone to court in a bid to enforce cryptocurrency donation pledges that have grown in value from a couple of hundred thousand euros to €7 million in less than three years. The charity fund is headed by President George Vella. The pledges, intended for cancer patients, were made to Istrina in 2018 as part of a campaign run by a Malta-based charity called Blockchain Charity Foundation, set up by Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange. RELATED STORIES This was at the height of the government-led campaign to establish the country as a ‘Blockchain Island’.…

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People cannot be forced to take the COVID-19 vaccine, but the government will not shy away from decisions to “give value” to the vaccine and protect the Maltese population, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Sunday. Speaking during a brief phone-in interview on ONE radio, Abela said there was a “small minority” who did not want to take the COVID vaccine. Malta has already placed quarantine restrictions on unvaccinated people travelling to the island. Dozens of companies are considering requiring their unvaccinated employees to take weekly novel coronavirus tests, according to the head of the Malta Employers’ Association (MEA). Countries…

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You’re the PN’s new strategist. What does this role entail exactly? My contract is tied to the electoral campaign. I hope to be helping to communicate the vision of the next government. Presumably you must have certain targets. What’s the plan, are you looking to just help with the election and then move on? I’ve gone all in, right. I’m in the process of selling my business. I’ve given up my career as an independent journalist, probably for life. And I really want to be part of a vision for a new Maltese government. Hopefully, this will materialise quite quickly.…

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Activists have demanded police commissioner Angelo Gafà start prosecuting former politicians implicated in high-level corruption.  In a small socially distanced protest held outside the police headquarters in Floriana, Repubblika president Robert Aquilina said Gafà’s tenure as commissioner had yet to yield concrete results.  “Focus on prosecutions rather than rebranding the corps. Leave that to the marketing people”, Aquilina said.  Video: Chris Sant Fournier Aquilina said the recent prosecution of former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri had been driven by an inquiry instigated by Simon Busuttil, rather than police action.  “The police had no choice but to move. The accusations…

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Lengthy court proceedings remain a serious concern in Malta, a European commission rule of law report has said.  As of last year, the commission started drawing up an annual rule of law health check for all EU states.  The report on Malta says the average length of money-laundering cases remained particularly long, taking over 1,350 days in 2019, even though the length of time was on a downward trend.  Litigious civil and commercial cases at first instance were labelled as “very long” with an average time of 465 days, which was an upward trend in 2019.  The duration of these…

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Loyal customers are feeling “let down” when their bank accounts are closed, particularly when they are not given a valid reason, a financial watchdog has highlighted. Financial arbiter Reno Borg says in his annual report that certain customers, however, fail to realise that more stringent anti-money laundering rules need their cooperation in providing more personal details and added information about the use of their accounts. In this regard, the arbiter suggests that banks and regulatory bodies should discuss how to balance compliance with anti-money laundering laws with lessening “unnecessary” bureaucracy that may make life difficult for customers and may hinder…

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Enemalta is seeking an extension of the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) permit for its Marsa power station in case of emergencies. While the bulk of the plant was dismantled by 2018, Enemalta kept one remaining gas turbine on standby for “emergency use”. According to Enemalta’s permit renewal application submitted to the environment watchdog, the Marsa turbine is only being operated for maintenance purposes and emergency circumstances.  The turbine is fired up for a few hours every month to keep it in good operating order. Although the IPPC permitting process promotes the use of the latest technologies to reduce…

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Opposition leader Bernard Grech described the Nationalist Party as a broad church that values anyone willing to work towards Malta’s interests in his speech closing the party’s week-long general council. In contrast, he accused Labour of buying people’s silence. “I am interested in your value, not your price. Labour thinks it can buy everyone.” The PN leader said he is willing to welcome anyone who wants to advance the cause they believe in, saying the party will make these causes its own.  “We do not want to impose ourselves on anyone through a top-down approach. We are not like Robert…

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