MFSA: The Maltese Intransparency Problems With Its Regulators Continue!

Former MFSA CEO Joseph Gavin received new contract
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The regulatory environment in Malta is different. Very different, indeed. The Maltese online platform Shift revealed that Malta Financial Services Authority (MFS) entered into a questionable arrangement to pay its retired former CEO Joseph Gavin some €65,000 for him to “give a handover” to the new acting CEO, a senior MFSA executive. Gavin stepped down last summer after being absent from work for over a month but was still paid €11,000 per month.

According to Shift, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana is also refusing to publish the extraordinary arrangement struck with Gavin last summer, despite a number of Parliamentary Questions that have been tabled by Opposition MP Jerome Caruana Cilia.

The MFSA said that it had entered into a back-to-back service agreement with the retired CEO “to provide advisory services in relation to the statutory functions of the Authority and in order to provide an orderly handover and conclusions of various initiatives.”

The rumors reaching FinTelegram say that the MFSA‘s Maltese executives were not unhappy about the situation with Gavin and did not regret his resignation. So they can continue with their “regulation by friendship and benefits.” The MFSA has not yet presented a successor for Gavin but appointed the long-time executive, Michelle Mizzi Buontempo, as acting CEO.

The most obvious example is the former MFSA and MGA CEO Joseph Cuschieri, who was on friendly terms with casino operator Yorgen Fenech and – like Edwina Licari – was invited by him to expensive business trips.

As a reminder, the Maltese entrepreneur Yorgen Fenech is considered the mastermind behind the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and is accused of systematic bribery. He is in custody awaiting trial.

However, Edwina Licari was the General Counsel of the MGA while she allegedly supported Fenech in renewing the MGA license for his company. She is still the General Counsel of the MFSA despite the scandals. Malta is different.

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