January 11 2004
Defending Parmalat’s companies in Malta
centre of the Parmalat Malta connection would seem to be the company
Parmalat Capital Finance Ltd, a company whose directors are under arrest
in Italy and some of whom have already admitted to falsifying accounts
Several articles appearing in the international press indicated that
this company was used to carry out dubious transactions with other Parmalat
PCFL director Fausto Tonna, interrogated in Italy is on record stating
about the Parmalat group that "Four times a year, the system of
putting together false documents was activated on the occasion of the
four balance sheet operations that the company had."
In Malta, director Dr Ian Stafrace, who shares a legal firm with former
Labour deputy leader George Abela, told MaltaToday that since the Parmalat
companies came to Malta: "everything was "above board, and
conducted in good faith."
The Malta Financial Services Authority, Prof Joe Bannister echoed Stafrace:
""I wish to confirm that - on the basis of the information
available to the MFSA to date - it results that the substantial transactions
being mentioned in the international media were carried out before the
Parmalat group started to establish a presence in Malta.
"The company known as Bonlat, where a serious forgery of a bank
statement is alleged to have occurred, is not a Maltese company, but
was set up in the Cayman Islands. The forgery too pre-dated the Group's
presence in Malta."
Parmalat Capital Finance Ltd was audited by Deloitte and Touche’s
Edward Camilleri for the year ended 2002, and Camilleri would not confirm
whether the company was under investigation. He limited himself to telling
MaltaToday: "We have, of course, been co-operating with enquirers
appropriately and shall continue to do so."
PCFL was set up in the Cayman Islands and was brought to Malta in April
of 2002. Camilleri confirmed however that: "Parmalat Capital Finance
Limited has been placed in provisional liquidation by Court order in
the Cayman Islands, where it is registered."
According to the accounts: PCFL "was incorporated in the Cayman
Islands on 24 October 1997. On 31 March 2002, the directors resolved,
with effect from that date, to transfer the management and control of
the company to Malta."
Asked whether he was aware of any investigations by a US firm, following
allegations reported in The Malta Independent Camilleri replied: "we
are not aware of the investigations by Zini & Associates which you
Quizzed about possible dubious transactions prior to PCFL arrival in
Malta, Camilleri said: "we have no knowledge of dubious transactions
that may have taken place prior to the registration in Malta of the
Parmalat companies audited by us."