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MALTATODAY 16 April 2023

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12 NEWS maltatoday | SUNDAY • 16 APRIL 2023 JAMES DEBONO GIVEN a choice, 49% of young people in Malta aged 15-30 will choose self-employment over em- ployment in contrast to 41% who prefer being em- ployees. A Eurobarometer survey found that only 39% of young people in all EU member states would prefer self-employment to working as an employ- ee, while 55% prefer being an employee to being self-employed. In six Member States, more than half of respond- ents would prefer being self-employed: Cyprus (64%), Lithuania (59%), Croatia (57%), Portugal (57%), Greece (55%) and Hungary (52%). In It- aly (48%) and Malta (49%), close to one in two respondents would prefer self-employment. In the remaining Member States, respondents with a preference for being an employee outnumber those who would opt for self-employment. The proportion selecting 'employee status' is overall the highest in Spain (74%), followed by Finland (68%). In 18 Member States including Malta, the top-ranking reason to prefer self-employment is the freedom to choose time and place of work. The proportion selecting this reason is the highest in Estonia (71%), followed by Lithuania and Cro- atia (both 60%), while the lowest proportions are found in Belgium (43%) and Spain (41%). This response is the joint highest-ranking rea- son in Malta (56%) and France (48%), alongside the independence of 'being one's own boss'. In the remaining nine Member States, the highest-rank- ing reason to prefer self-employment is the inde- pendence of 'being one's own boss'. This reason is most frequently selected in Luxembourg (62%) and Hungary (62%), while the lowest proportion is observed in Romania (39%). Across all but one of the Member States, the highest-ranking reason for young people to prefer working as an employee is the security this brings in terms of regular, steady income. This reason is selected by between 35% of respondents in Roma- nia and 58% in Malta. The exception is Germany where 48% prefer being employees because of job security. In Malta the financial risks involved in starting up a business is the top-ranking barrier to youth entrepreneurship. This barrier is selected by 51% of respondents in Luxembourg and 53% in Malta, while the lowest proportion mentioning financial risks is observed in Lithuania (28%). The survey also assessed the perception young people have of entrepreneurs. 51% of Maltese respondents described entrepreneurs as being ambitious while 38% described them as brave. In contrast 22% of Maltese young people think that entrepreneurs are only interested in profit while 16% think they take advantage of workers. In nine countries, respondents are the most likely to reply that entrepreneurs are brave; this applies, for example, to Finland (45%), Denmark (43%) and Spain (39%). In ten countries, entrepreneurs are ambitious is the (joint) highest-ranking statement; this applies, for example, to Malta (51%), Ireland (48%) and Sweden (46%). In Greece (34%) and Cyprus (41%), the largest share of respondents re- ply that entrepreneurs only think about profit. In Lithuania, the largest share of respondents think that entrepreneurs are reckless (36%). The survey indicates that young Maltese are the most likely in Europe to believe that businesses should have a social goal. 85% of Maltese respond- ents find it 'very' or 'fairly important' that a poten- tial employer has defined social goals. Respondents in Malta (83%) and Portugal (85%), joined by those in Italy (82%), are also the most likely to find it find it 'very' or 'fairly important' that the company has environmental goals. The proportion of 'very important' responses for this characteristic varies between 16% in Latvia and 38% in Malta. Young people across all Member States also at- tach value to the fact that a potential employer in- volves employees in the decision-making in a par- ticipatory way, with the proportion of considering this aspect 'very' or 'fairly important' ranging from 70% in Czechia to 89% in Malta and Portugal. Majority of Maltese youths say they want to be their own boss MATTHEW AGIUS AN order not to charge a sen- ior Pilatus Bank official may have been influenced by her relatives' past professional re- lationship with Prime Minister Robert Abela, a new book sug- gests. The claim is made by Repub- blika President Robert Aquilina in the book Pilatus: A Laundro- mat Bank in Europe, which was launched yesterday at the Old University in Valletta. The allegation, which is based on what an unnamed source purportedly told Aquilina, is one of the most serious detailed in the book. It concerns former Pilatus risk manager Antoniella Gauci and her subaltern Mehmet Tasli, who were among seven indi- viduals indicated in the Pilatus magisterial inquiry as suspects over money laundering and other financial crimes. The magistrate had recom- mended prosecution against all seven but the police eventu- ally only charged the bank and money laundering reporting of- ficer Claudanne Sant-Fournier despite having issued interna- tional arrest warrants for Tasli and other foreign officials. The case against the two is ongoing and they deny the charges. Aquilina's book says that Gauci's father and brother were legal clients and political can- vassers to Prime Minister Rob- ert Abela, suggesting this could have been a factor in the issuing of a nolle prosequi – an order not to press charges – by the Attorney General in contraven- tion of the magistrate's orders. The 750-page tome contains 500 pages of evidence, includ- ing the complete Duff and Phelps report submitted as part of the magisterial inquiry, together with transcriptions of internal police emails which Aquilina says show that there has been a cover-up in the in- vestigation into the now-shut- tered bank. Only handwritten copies of the emails are reproduced in the book, with the author ex- plaining that publication of the originals would have opened his source up to identification and retribution. Pilatus Bank shut down in 2018 after its licence was with- drawn by the European Cen- tral Bank on instruction from the Malta Financial Services Authority, In 2021, the Finan- cial Intelligence Analysis Unit slapped the shuttered bank with a €4.9 million fine for letting millions in potentially shady cash flow into Malta un- checked. The transcripts read as follows: • The first, flagged as "high importance" was sent on Tues- day 13 July 2021 at 9:04am by (Now former) Police Inspector Keith Vella to Police inspectors Claire Borg and Pauline Bonel- lo. "Good morning colleagues. When you have some time, think of a few points because of Antoniella's and Tasli's no- lle prosequi. We need to have a clear picture by the end of this week please." Pilatus Bank official 'connections' to Repubblika president Robert Aquilina claims in new book that 'political connections' with Prime Minister Robert Abela inf luenced decision not to charge two Pilatus Bank officials

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