The Times of Malta has reported that Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) Executive Chairman Joseph Cuschieri will be leaving the gambling regulator to become the first Chief Executive of Malta’s Financial Services Authority (MFSA).
The appointment of Cuschieri as MFSA CEO is reported to have been personally requested by Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, with the authority restructuring its operations to accommodate the new leadership appointment.
Malta’s business community expects current MGA Chief Regulatory Officer Heathcliff Farrugia to take leadership of the gambling regulator, supported by Malta Investments Management Company (MIMCOL) executive Adrian Said acting as non-executive chairman.
Malta news sources report that a shake-up of the MGA is likely to happen, following criticism of the authority in-relation to Italian focused licensees being indicted in an anti-mafia/anti-corruption investigation by Italian Police.
In its response, the MGA governance has moved to review all Italian licensees, and last week further announced the formation of Anti-Money Laundering taskforce to ensure financial standards and due-diligence are being met.
The Maltese government is fighting criticism by EU member states, that it has created an AML negligent and tax avoidance friendly business framework.
During 2017 the EU introduced its anti-money laundering code, implementing the community-wide ‘Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive’ (June 2017).
Taking a tougher approach on money laundering, EU officials have criticised the Maltese government for falling behind on standards related to monitoring financial transactions.
Malta officials have defended the nations policies and track record, stating that the country has proven to be an exemplary authority in regulating ‘high-risk industries’ such as online gambling.