The Malta Independent 22 October 2020, Thursday

$629 million account linked to PN leadership hopeful Ray Bugeja - explains that it’s not his money

Jacob Borg Monday, 16 March 2015, 09:10 Last update: about 7 years ago

The Swiss Leaks data show the maximum amount of money connected to a person in Malta is $629 million.

The person associated with the eye-watering figure is former PN leadership hopeful Ray Bugeja. The Swiss Leaks files show the $629 million was not held in a personal account held by Mr Bugeja.

His name appeared on the Swiss Leaks list in connection with a number of hedge funds domiciled in the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands, which he oversaw during his time as director and chief financial officer of the investment management company Kairos.

The Swiss Leaks files have been made available to The Malta Independent through an investigative partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and French newspaper Le Monde.

Despite the hedge funds being based in two notorious tax havens, Mr Bugeja told The Malta Independent that Kairos is regulated by the British Financial Conduct Authority and everything was done above board.

“Many hedge fund companies in the UK, regulated by the FCA have funds in the Cayman Islands, many. Kairos has funds in Italy, Luxembourg and Lugano,  there is nothing wrong with that. This is how hedge funds operate.”

Mr Bugeja helped set up the investment company in 1999 but no longer forms part of it since his return to Malta in 2010.

Mr Bugeja said he has never held a Swiss bank account, and all his tax affairs are in order. He said he did not make use of any government tax amnesties since his return to Malta.

 “I have lived overseas, and had a number of accounts obviously, but I have never had an account with HSBC Switzerland...

“I am in Malta, paying the taxes I am due to pay in Malta. I have never had to call on any amnesty, and I have never had a need to, I have nothing to hide,” Mr Bugeja said.

An accountant by profession, Mr Bugeja shot to prominence locally when he made an outside bid to lead the Nationalist Party in 2013 after Lawrence Gonzi’s resignation.

He obtained 5.2 per cent of the vote from PN councillors in the first round, and was appointed by Opposition leader Simon Busuttil shortly after to head the indebted Party’s finance commission.

He was appointed to the PN executive shortly after and tasked with preparing a report on how to help solve the indebted Party’s financial woes.

After unsuccessfully contesting the European Parliament election in 2014, sources say Mr Bugeja resigned from the PN executive and has not been heard from since.

In an interview with The Malta Independent last year, Mr Bugeja said he was living out his childhood dream by pursuing a career in politics.

He started working “behind the scenes” with the Nationalist Party immediately after his 2010 return to Malta.

He does admit that on his return to Malta, he held talks with the Labour Party as well as other “institutional and constitutional leaders.”

Mr Bugeja insisted that his talks with the Labour Party were not a case of keeping all his options open.

“No, it was not about keeping my options open, it was about making contact and understanding the local political scene, my option was obviously the Nationalist Party,” he had said in the interview.

 

 

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