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MT 26 October 2014

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maltatoday Newspaper post CONTINUES PAGES 4-5 INTERVIEW • 12-13 'Tonio Fenech's €25 million offer came five days before voting day' MFSA enquiry uncovered suspected fraud In 2010, the Nationalist government attempted to have the National Bank of Malta shareholders' compensation case thrown out of court. Then in 2013, they knocked on the shareholders' doors with a multi-million offer on the eve of a general election, hoping to secure an eleventh-hour announcement MIRIAM DALLI AN allegedly fraudulent document from a Spanish bank that certified the capital solidity of Spanish pho- tovoltaic manufacturers Solarig, was uncovered during an enquiry by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), MaltaToday has learned. In July 2014, Spanish bank Bankia informed the MFSA that it was not in a position to confirm the authen- ticity of the document – issued by a branch of Bancaja Bank, because it lacked the necessary signature. The letter had been presented by Solarig in 2012 in its bid to secure a €35 million contract to install PV panels on government buildings. But following an investigation by the Prime Minister's internal au- dit and investigations department (IAID), the Maltese police are now to start investigating allegations of fraud. MaltaToday is informed that George Barbaro Sant, the managing director of Alberta, the partners in the Solarig bid, will be among those to be called in for questioning. In the letter to the MFSA, Bankia Bank's director of business banking Gonzalo Alcubilla, told the regula- tor: "It should be mentioned that the letter [from Bancaja] has no sig- nature, so it is not possible to con- firm the authenticity of the same. "In any case, it should be noted that on the date the letter would have been issued (February 9, 2012) the banking business of [Bancaja] had been transferred by spin off to Bankia, so any sponsorship letter could not have been issued by the above mentioned Savings Bank." SUNDAY • 26 OCTOBER 2014 • ISSUE 781 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY €1.20 IMMANUEL MIFSUD's Jutta Hemm explores unrequited love and recent history and politics MATTHEW VELLA THE former Nationalist government was des- perate to hang on to every vote it could get in the dying days of the 2013 election campaign, to the extent that it hammered out an esti- mated €25 million compensation proposal for the shareholders of the National Bank of Malta (NBOM), just days before election day. Stuck in litigation since 1977 over the shares the shareholders signed over to the State under duress in 1972, the Nationalist administration made a second attempt at se- curing the wavering vote of the NBOM share- holders with an eleventh-hour settlement just five days before the electorate went to vote in March last year. Ironically the offer came three years after the government had attempted to get rid of the case by claiming it was time-barred, in a plea filed by the Attorney General's office, on behalf of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister. The government argued that cases on the rescission of contracts on grounds of violence had to be filed within two years – the main civil case was filed four years after Dom Mintoff 's takeover of the bank. According to shareholders' representa- tive Milica Micovic, 67 – a director of B. Tagliaferro and Sons, the largest corporate shareholder of the NBOM – former finance minister Tonio Fenech presented them with a settlement proposal for compensation on March 3, five days before last year's general election. But Micovic has said that there was "no for- mal offer" of €25 million, "let alone a rejec- tion of the alleged offer." Micovic said that Fenech offered the share- holders' committee a "complex nine-page 'settlement proposal' document" on Monday, March 3, 2013, "with a request that it be treat- ed with urgency as the minister wished to an- nounce that the government had reached an agreement with the shareholders of the Na- tional Bank of Malta before election day." Police expected to call in Alberta's managing director CONTINUES PAGE 9 The high cost of government How taxpayers foot the hefty bill to keep Labour's nine-seat majority happy... PAGES 6-7 €1.20 1.20 'Islamic State is the tip of the iceberg: unhappy migrants in Europe, maybe they could not cope with life in the West' Arsalan Alshinawi Don't forget to change the hour! Clocks moved back one hour at 3am today IMMANUEL MIFSUD's Jutta Hemm 'I really hope to one day stop writing about the 80s – honestly' YOUR FIRST READ AND FIRST CLICK OF THE DAY WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT Electoral math: Fenech tried to get NBM votes with a €25 million offer

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