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Maltese Financial Regulator's CEO Resigns

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor , London, 27 November 2020

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The CEO had suspended himself from his role as the investigation into claims about him was carried out. He handed in his resignation on 25 November, the regulator said.

The chief executive of Malta’s principal financial regulator has resigned after a possible breach of ethics after having suspended himself pending the outcome of an investigation. 

Joseph Cuschieri resigned from the Malta Financial Services Authority on 25 November, according to a statement from the watchdog that was emailed to WealthBriefing yesterday. 

The MFSA this week received a report of the Board of Review, which had been appointed by the Board of Governors on 3 November 2020 to check a possible ethics breach by Cuschieri and Dr Edwina Licari, general counsel at the authority. Dr Licari, had also suspended herself from her role. 

According to Maltese media, Cuschieri had taken an expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas with casino owner Yorgen Fenech after Cuschieri had started working at the financial regulator. Fenech is being probed over his alleged involvement in the murder in October 2017 of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The Daphne affair has cast a cloud over the Mediterranean island, which is a European Union member state.

“The Authority has taken note of Mr Cuschieri’s resignation. It has also taken note of the Board of Review's opinion on the cases of both Mr Cuschieri and Dr Licari. The Board of Review's conclusion regarding Mr Cuschieri leads the MFSA Board to ratify his resignation. As regards Dr Licari, the Board of Review's conclusions do not warrant her continued self-suspension. The Board of Governors has decided to present a copy of the Board of Review’s report for information to the Minister of Finance and Employment.

“The Board of Governors takes the opportunity to thank Chief Justice Emeritus Joseph Azzopardi and Dr Mark Simiana for their services and for their commitment and determination to conclude the assessment process expeditiously,” the statement from MFSA said. 

Dr Christopher Buttigieg will continue to serve as CEO on an interim basis while the search for a permanent replacement goes on.

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