ECB's Enria urges Malta to tighten checks on banks

FRANKFURT, Oct 2 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank’s top supervisor called on Maltese authorities on Wednesday to monitor banks more stringently, the latest appeal to authorities flagging risks facing the country’s large banking sector.

This follows sharp criticism of Malta two weeks ago by an influential European monitoring body for inadequately tackling financial crime.

Last year, the ECB shut down Malta-based international lender Pilatus Bank after its chairman was charged in the United States over money laundering and fraud, and the European Commission started a disciplinary procedure against Maltese authorities over their handling of the case.

Andrea nEria, who started as the chair of the ECB’s Single Supervisory Mechanism this year, called for more stringent oversight in the country, which is trying to establish itself as a hub for financial technology despite the scandal.

“Non-financial risks like conduct, compliance, reputational and IT risks need to be managed in a more stringent and coherent manner, especially in the light of Malta’s leading role in blockchain and crypto technology,” Enria said in the interview.

He added he was “confident that the Maltese authorities will manage to deliver the desired results”. (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)