Well known Austrian economist and businessman Peter Schiff is in the process of desperately trying to save his bank, based in Puerto Rico, after local regulators shut it down, alleging that it has failed to meet capitalization requirements.
Schiff has said several times over that he has a buyer for Euro Pacific International Bank Inc., but that a provisional cease-and-desist order from regulators stands in his way to selling the bank, according to Bloomberg.
Back in November, the bank had submitted a plan for Emergent Technology & Payments to acquire all of the bank's shares. The Puerto Rico Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions, or OCIF weighed the financials of Austrian payment processor Qenta Payment CEE, which Emergent also purchased earlier in the year.
Emergent agreed to buy the bank despite a widely publicized global tax-evasion investigation that has been taking place since 2020. Emergent would have put in $7 million to help recapitalize the bank. Schiff maintains that the investigation turned up nothing.
I'm reading fake news stories that Puerto Rican regulators worked with the IRS and the J5 to shut down the bank. They did not. The IRS/J5 investigation found nothing. The actions against the bank had nothing to do with that investigation. They related solely to capital issues.— Peter Schiff (@PeterSchiff) July 7, 2022
Schiff had initially thought the sale would consummate, telling Bloomberg: “All of a sudden they decide, ‘Nope, this deal is gone. We’re going to take this bank and put it into a receivership and expose it to millions of dollars of losses unnecessarily.’ And, at the end of the day, the depositors may end up, you know, losing some money right now.”
OCIF says it has been warning the bank since 2021 that it was in “crass noncompliance with the minimum capital requirements.”
“The investigation found nothing. The bank didn’t help people launder money or evade taxes. So why is it getting shut down?” Schiff concluded.
Schiff says he has put $10 million of his personal funds into Euro Pacific since its inception in 2017.
The only explanation is the IRS and J5 blocked the sale, so they could use the closure of my bank as a successful example of their crack down on money laundering and tax evasion, even though their own investigation proved the bank did nothing to facilitate any financial crimes.— Peter Schiff (@PeterSchiff) July 5, 2022