MFSA appoints former Chief Justice to oversee CEO free-Vegas-trip scandal
This is clearly being taken very seriously by the authorities in Malta.
Following our weekend report that Malta financial regulator MFSA has been thrown into chaos following the self-suspension of CEO Joseph Cuschieri and General Counsel Edwina Licari, the MFSA has indicated that it appointed a panel of third parties led by Former Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi and independent lawyer Dr. Mark Simiana to look into the matter.
The regulator announced Friday that Mr. Cuschieri and Ms. Licari had “voluntarily suspended” themselves, after reports surfaced in the country that the two had gone on an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas with Maltese businessman and casino owner Yorgen Fenech in May 2018. At the time of the trip Ms. Licari was still legal counsel at the country’s gambling regulator the MGA. Mr. Cuschieri was just a month into his job at the MFSA, after heading the MGA.
To top things off, Yorgen Fenech was detained at sea by Malta’s armed forces in late 2019 and is a suspect in the 2017 murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The MFSA noted that it expects the panel’s review and recommendations to be done in an “expeditious manner”.
The full statement made today by the MFSA reads as follows:
NOVEMBER 03, 2020
In a Public Statement issued last Friday, the Board of Governors of the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) had given notice of its intention to initiate an assessment of the facts reported in the local media to safeguard the interests of the Authority.
In this regard, the Board of Governors is giving notice that a panel made up of independent third parties has been set up to carry out necessary verifications with regard to a breach of ethics. The panel is being made up of Former Chief Justice Joe Azzopardi and independent lawyer Dr Mark Simiana. The panel have been instructed by the Board of Governors to carry out the assessment process in an expeditious manner. Once the necessary assessments are concluded by the panel, recommendations will be presented to the Board of Governors for a final decision to be taken on both cases.
The Board of Governors of the MFSA is responsible for establishing the policies and risk parameters to be pursued by the Authority. The Board is bound by confidentiality and, in this regard, every single member of the Board categorically refutes that he or she gave any comments to the media. Information is issued only collectively as a Board.
The Board of Governors affirms its commitment that the MFSA’s management and staff remain totally focused on the implementation of the Authority’s vision and strategy to ensure proper consumer protection and a safer and sounder financial system.