Cuschieri’s resignation ‘ratified’; Licari’s self-suspension ‘not warranted’

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Joseph Cuschieri’s resignation is warranted, the Malta Financial Services Authority said on Thursday after it received the report of the Board of Review which had been appointed by the Board of Governors. However, according to the same statement, Edwina Licari’s suspension is not.

Cuschieri sent in his resignation on Wednesday.

Both Cuschieri and Licari have been outed as having benefitted from a luxury, all expenses paid holiday in Las Vegas in 2018. The bill was footed by casino owner, development mogul and murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.

Fenech stands accused of complicity in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Cuschieri was handpicked by former PM Joseph Muscat for the post of CEO of the financial regulator and Licari was handpicked as board member in the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit by Cuschieri.

Licari had in the meantime resigned from the FIAU board.

The MFSA had reacted to news of the trip by announcing a probe led by chief justice emeritus Joseph Azzopardi. The panel composed of Chief Justice Emeritus and Mark Simiana was tasked to carry out the necessary verifications regarding a possible breach of ethics by Joseph Cuschieri and Edwina Licari.

The authority received Cuschieri’s resignation from his role as CEO on the same day it received the report.

The MFSA said that it took note of Cuschieri’s resignation and the Board of Review’s opinion in the cases of both Cuschieri and 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 statement reads.

MFSA’s Board of Governors thanked Chief Justice Emeritus and Dr Simiana for their service and commitment.

Dr Christopher Buttigieg will continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer ad interim while the process to recruit a new CEO gets underway.