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Edward Banayoti

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Edward Banayoti
Edward A. Banayoti 2016.jpg
Other namesErnest Anderson
Ernie Anderson
Ashraf Banayoti
Alma materUniversity of Toronto[citation needed]
York University[citation needed]
OccupationFounder of Defence Unlimited International
Princess Aisha bint Hussein
(m. 2016; div. 2016)

Edward Sawiris Banayoti, formerly known as Ernest (Ernie) Anderson and also known as Ashraf Banayoti, is a businessman of Egyptian origin based in Canada.[2] He allegedly ran a Ponzi scheme through his unlicensed Canadian investment company Golden Gate Funds LP and entered into a settlement with the Ontario Securities Commission in 2009, agreeing to pay $4.7-million in financial penalties.

He has variously been reported as (and claimed to be) active in financial investments, real-estate, commercial aviation, arms dealing and lobbying.


Banayoti attracted media attention in Malta in 2016 when he made a bid for a 49.9% stake in Air Malta through his UK company Banayoti Holdings Limited.[3][4] The company had been registered earlier in 2016 with a share capital of EUR 1.85 billion which was never paid up, according to the company accounts.[5] Banayoti is reported to have met only once with the Maltese government, after which his offer was rejected with a government spokesperson claiming that a standard due diligence search on Banayoti and his companies "clearly showed, even at a preliminary stage, that his companies would not match government plans to identify a strategic partner which can assure a positive turnaround for Air Malta”[6]

Banayoti Holdings Limited was dissolved in 2018.[5]

The press coverage from this failed bid brought Banyoti to the attention of Maltese investigative journalist and anti-corruption activist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who investigated his prior business dealings in Canada under his former name Ernie or Ernest Anderson.[4][7] In an article posted on 14 November 2016, she quotes directly from an Ontario Tribunal and from CTV News, a national Canadian newspaper linking Banayoti to a Ponzi scheme.[8] According to the article, in 2005 the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) opened an investigation into Banayoti's company Golden Gate Funds, an unlicensed investment firm marketing its products to the public.[4][9]

More than 150 investors collectively invested over $8-million into this fund managed by Banayoti (known as Ernest Anderson at the time), before the company went bankrupt. A case was heard before an OSC tribunal and a settlement was agreed in 2009 in which Banayoti acknowledged using investor funds not to invest in mortgages, as he told investors, but to cover operating costs and make payments to previous investors. As part of the settlement, the OSC demanded $4.7-million in monetary penalties.[10][11] As of January 2012, the full amount of the penalties remained unpaid. [12]

In 2015, Banayoti changed his name from Ernest Anderson to Edward Banayoti[7] and founded the arms brokerage company Defence Unlimited in Malta. The company is registered as an organisation on the EU list of lobbies as of 2017[4] and is listed as a "broker of military assets" able to deliver various military hardware, such as ships, hand-held weapons, radar systems and armored vehicles, as well as specialized defence related training.[13]

Personal life

As Ernest Anderson, Banayoti was previously married.[9]

In January 2016, Banayoti married Princess Aisha Bint Al Hussein.[14][15] When he converted to Islam, he took the Muslim name Ashraf Banayoti, but goes by his legal name, Edward Banayoti. The couple divorced in Jordan in July 2016.[16]


  1. ^ "Reigning Royal Families: Jordan". World Who's Who. Routledge. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  2. ^ "Arms dealer Ed Banayoti partners with MetOcean". 2018-04-11.
  3. ^ Camilleri, Ivan (2016-11-13). "New offer to buy into Air Malta". Times of Malta. Retrieved 2019-06-16.
  4. ^ a b c d Vella, Matthew (2019-04-09). "Defence consultant Edward Banayoti sets up EU base in Malta".
  5. ^ a b "Banayoti Holdings Limited - Company filing history". UK companies house.
  6. ^ Camilleri, Ivan (2016-11-18). "No go on Air Malta offer, now it's back to Brussels". Times of Malta. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  7. ^ a b ""Government Notices — Other: Change of Name Act". Retrieved 2019-06-16.
  8. ^ "So what sort of Ponzi scheme did Edward Banayoti run when he was called Ernest Anderson?". Daphne Caruana Galizia's Notebook | Running Commentary. 2016-11-14. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  9. ^ a b Popyk, Tom (2010-04-24). "Golden Gate Funds leaves a trail of lost investments".
  10. ^ Gray, Jeff; McFarland, Janet (2013-08-24). "Crime without punishment: Canada's investment fraud problem". The Globe and Mail.
  11. ^ "Settlement Agreement Between Staff and Ernest Anderson and Golden Gate Funds LP" (PDF). Ontario_Securities_Commission. 2009-09-25. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  12. ^ Gray, Jeff (January 18, 2012). "OSC collects only a fraction of fines it imposes". The Globe and Mail.
  13. ^ "Profile of registrant - Defence Unlimited International Corp". EU Transparency Register.
  14. ^ "CANADA : Arms broker Banayoti woos EU". Intelligence Online. 2017-04-05. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  15. ^ "Princess Aisha Bint Al Hussein Gets Married". Arabia Weddings. 2016-01-29. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  16. ^ "Princess Aisha, Edward Banayoti divorced". Jordan Times. 2016-07-01. Retrieved 2017-11-30.

External links