Former Maltese compliance officer Iosif Galea arrested

Former MGA CTO Jason Farrugia was charged in court last week.
Former MGA CTO Jason Farrugia was charged in court last week.

The MGA has sought to distance itself from the arrest which took place on a warrant requested by Germany.

Malta.- Former Maltese compliance officer Iosif Galea was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant last week while on holiday in Italy. He was reportedly travelling in a group in which former Maltese Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, was also present.

The European Arrest Warrant had been issued at the request of German authorities, who wanted Galea to answer for alleged tax evasion. However, Galea also faces legal issues in Malta itself, where he was on bail for his alleged involvement in the leak of confidential information from the MGA.

The Times of Malta has reported that police are looking into why he was allowed to leave Malta and was not arrested on the island despite the existence of the warrant.

MP Joe Giglio said: “I cannot understand how we did not know about the European Arrest Warrant. This basically means that the Home Affairs Minister and the Police Commissioner have failed because a request for assistance by another country to fight criminality was ignored.

“This is a threat to our country because it means that if there are other people around the world who have arrest warrants issued against them, the airport, our ports… have no idea these exist.

“Because if nobody knew about the Galea warrant, what guarantee do we have that this is not the case with others?”

Galea left Malta’s Lotteries and Gaming Authority (now the Malta Gaming Authority, the MGA) in March 2013 and has since worked as an igaming regulatory compliance consultant. On LinkedIn, he says that at the regulator he was responsible for licensing, post-licensing and investigations into gaming systems and licensees.

The MGA said in a statement: “The MGA would like to clarify that Mr Galea has not been employed with the Authority since March 2013. Mr Galea held the role of compliance officer between December 2007 and March 2013.”

Galea’s arrest came just as former MGA chief technology officer Jason Farrugia was charged in court with several offences, including fraud exceeding €5,000, money laundering, extortion, acceptance of bribes, misappropriation, trading in influence, disclosing confidential information and computer misuse. His wife, Christine, 26, was charged with money laundering. Both have pleaded not guilty.

He’s the second senior MGA official to be charged in court after former CEO Healthcliff Farrugia was charged with trading in influence due to communications with Yorgen Fenech.

Last year, the igaming operator association iGEN called for Malta to take “clear and decisive” action against any wrongdoing among officials and regulators in order to protect the industry’s reputation. It warned that legal cases involving impropriety among senior officials and regulators risked tarnishing the sector’s reputation.

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