Recent revelations about top Maltese officials galavanting in Las Vegas with the suspected mastermind of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination could hurt Malta’s chances at passing its upcoming grey-listing test, sources have told Lovin Malta.
This means it is crucial for any replacements to top regulatory positions to be credible and non-political, preferably decided after a public call.
An ultimate decision by the reviewers from the FATF is expected by June 2021, and if Malta fails, it could have a catastrophic impact on our economy.
“In theory, what Moneyval and FATF will be examining is Malta’s progress made on the recommendations made in Malta’s Moneyval report, so these things should not affect. But in practice, the reviewers, who are most likely following the media, are probably unimpressed with the latest developments, and these stories may impact our credibility. This doesn’t help and it doesn’t look good,” said one source familiar with the process.
To improve Malta’s credibility, it is crucial for the government to appoint technical and non-political staff to the Malta Financial Services Authority, whose CEO is self-suspended, and Malta Gaming Authority, whose CEO recently submitted his resignation in pursuit of starting a private venture.
“Ideally there would be a public call, and even though there is no legal requirement for this, it would, from a transparency point of view, send a good signal.” the source said.
MFSA currently has an acting CEO in Christopher Buttigieg since Joe Cuschieri “self-suspended” after news emerged of his holiday with Yorgen Fenech. The men were joined by Edwina Licari who has now, rightly so, stepped down from the FIAU board and Charlene Bianco Farrugia, who worked at the Office of the Prime Minister close to disgraced former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri.
Prime Minister Robert Abela yesterday said he would give direction to all CEOs of regulatory bodies to focus 100% on their authority, especially considering they get paid well for their work at roughly double a minister’s salary.
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