Bank of Valletta’s Chairman Raked In €1.4 Million From Government Consulting!

Bank of Valetta chair Gordon Cordina and MFSA Governor Stephanie Vella
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The EU member Malta is different in many ways regarding business ethics and regulation. However, even by the low Maltese standards, it is unheard of that a Chairman of a leading national bank carry out private consultancy work. It is even more questionable when this takes place with the regulator’s blessing. The Chairman of Bank of Valletta (BOV), Gordon Cordina, received €1.4 million through his companies, E-Cubed Consultants Ltd and E-Cubed iSlands Ltd, for so-called consultancy work since 2013. Maltese media The Shift revealed this.

The Government Orders

According to The Shift, 64 direct orders and tenders were awarded to E-Cubed Consultants Ltd and E-Cubed iSlands Ltd over the last nine years; most of them were issued through direct orders, the government’s instrument of choice for public procurement.

There is no law preventing Cordina from simultaneously holding the role of chairman of the Bank of Valletta and simultaneously consulting the government. However, sources consulted by The Shift have raised concerns about a possible conflict of interest.

Well-Connected Company Owners

Gordon Cordina (LinkedIn) owns 50% of these companies. The other 50% is owned by economist Stephanie Vella (LinkedIn), pictured right, who was appointed as a governor on the Malta Financial Services Authority’s (MFSA) board in March 2021. Vella argues that her role as executive director of E-Cubed Consultants and MFSA governor would be “distinct from each other.

According to Cordina, Malta’s regulator, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), is aware of his business and does not consider this as a conflict of interest. The MFSA has remained silent despite such shocking revelations.

Gordon Cordina’s company started receiving direct orders from MGA whilst it was under the helm of Joseph Cuschieri. Fintelegram is publishing an invoice (see screenshot below) of E-Cubed Consultants Ltd addressed to the MGA, whereby Cordina’s firm billed €9,338 as per the “MGA Framework Agreement.” This respective agreement is not public.

Gordon Cordina and his E-Cubed Consultants bills MGA for their services

Joseph Cuschieri did attempt to silence Fintelegram through his attorney Charlon Gouder.

The Regulatory Scheme

Fintelegram has reported how Cordina’s firm enjoys a monthly retainer from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). Despite being the Chairman of Bank of Valetta, Malta’s leading bank, Cordina provides consultancy services to the highly controversial authority. During the past few years, the MGA has been hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Its former CEO, Joseph “Joe” Cuschieri, was accused of spending taxpayers’ monies deliberately, including €500,000 over 38 trips touring the world. According to EU legislation, spending taxpayers’ monies incorrectly is a criminal act. In 2018, Cuschieri became CEO of MFSA.

Cuschieri’s colleague and friend at MFSA and MGA, Edwina Licari, still forms part of the MFSA’s Executive Committee. Apparently, she did not offer her resignation and was not asked to leave. When Joe Cuschieri resigned in disgrace from MFSA, he was temporarily replaced by Christopher Buttigieg, who is now facing serious accusations in courts for trying to influence a license holder to sell to a competitor.

Christopher Buttigieg, Edwina Licari, and other members of the MFSA’s Executive Committee, such as Michelle Mizzi Buontempo, have not yet denied that they find no problem with Gordon Cordina acting as a consultant to the MGA whilst being the Chairman of Malta’s leading bank. Buttigieg and his fellow colleagues do not declare his conflicts of interest.

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