Maltese authorities need to demonstrate that the law applies to all without fear or favour by holding all those involved in corruption and graft accountable, an association of leading iGaming companies based in Malta has said.
In a statement today, iGEN noted that over the past few years, but especially in recent weeks and months, events had been covered by the local press that have had a negative impact on the reputation of the iGaming industry by direct and indirect association.
“A number of individuals in prominent political positions, as well as senior officials at key industry regulators have been implicated in crimes and/or have been accused of colluding with local business leaders.
“The actions of the few are impacting negatively the second largest industry in Malta, which represents over 13% of the country’s GDP. These have resulted in higher costs, an increase in operational complexity, loss of business and substantial reputational damage.”
The statement comes as a number of high-profile individuals, including former chief of staff to the Prime Minister, Keith Schembri, as well as financial practitioners from firms Nexia BT and Zenith, were charged in court with money laundering and corruption.
In recent months, both Malta Financial Services Authority CEO Joe Cuschieri and the Malta Gaming Authority CEO Heathcliff Farrugia have been forced to resign after their intimate relationship with Yorgen Fenech, the man charged with masterminding the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
iGEN said it remained committed to Malta, and fully supported the police and judiciary’s efforts in investigating these allegations, but it stressed the “need for clear and decisive action to ensure that justice is done and any guilty parties prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”.
It also said that it sincerely wished for a successful outcome to the ongoing Moneyval assessment.
It condemned “all acts of corruption, money laundering and fraud”, and welcomed “transparent and thorough investigations to eliminate all the individuals, companies and representatives from any position of influence”.
“We are satisfied to see that the relevant institutions have started to take decisive action against these claims, but much more remains to be done. Anyone who is or was involved in corruption and graft must be held accountable, and a clear message must be sent to demonstrate that the law applies to all without fear or favour,” iGEN chairman Enrico Bradamante concluded.
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