PM Abela under pressure to sack MFSA chief over ties with Yorgen Fenech

Joe Cuschieri should immediately resign from his position as Chief Executive Office of the Malta Financial Services Authority, MFSA, said the anti-corruption NGO Repubblika in a statement following what was revealed on Wednesday. If Cuschieri does not resign then Prime Minister Robert Abela has the duty to remove him, said the NGO.

Yesterday, it was revealed that the MFSA CEO had travelled with Yorgen Fenech in 2018 as his consultant. Fenech was arrested in November 2019 and is being accused of complicity in masterminding the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Cuschieri confirmed that he did go on a trip to Las Vegas with Fenech, but that he went on the trip at a time when he had left the MGA. Therefore, he was invited on the trip to advice on regulatory matters as the former regulator of the gaming sector. The MFSA told Newsbook.com.mt that Cuschieri has nothing to add to what he has already told journalists.

Repubblika considers that his trip to Vegas all paid by businessman Yorgen Fenech, at the time Cuschieri was MFSA CEO and after he had just left his position withing the Malta Gaming Authority, MGA, as a serious violation of ethics. Repubblika also said that this confirms that his role as a CEO of the MFSA is not tenable.  

“How can Cuschieri try and justify his trip to Vegas with Fenech by saying that his role within MGA was terminated when he travelled with Fenech. It is not like someone can have a close friendship in such a short time and then travel together and staying in a luxurious hotel in Las Vegas,” said the NGO.

Repubblika also stated that it feels disgust at these latest revelations and expects immediate and concrete action as this is the moment of truth for Prime Minister Robert Abela.

“Will he take action against Joe Cuschieri if he does not resign? Or will he not act upon it, while putting an additional risk of a negative Moneyval outcome? If he does not fight corruption than he is corrupt,” said Repubblika.