Former MGA CTO Jason Farrugia charged with money laundering and fraud

The MGA terminated Farrugia
The MGA terminated Farrugia

The Malta Gaming Authority’s former chief technology officer has been denied bail.

Malta.- The Malta Gaming Authority’s (MGA) former chief technology officer Jason Farrugia has been charged in court with several offences. The charges come five months after the MGA terminated Farrugia’s employment following an investigation.

Farrugia, 34, has been charged with offences related to 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 pleaded not guilty.

In a statement, the MGA confirmed the arraignment and stressed that Farrugia’s employment had been terminated on December 16 following an MGA investigation into “alleged wrongdoings”.

It said: “The results of these investigations were passed on to the relevant authorities and the MGA has been, and remains, at their disposal and providing all required assistance.”

Little detail has been provided about the investigations that led to the couple’s arrest. He left the MGA after an internal review revealed suspicions that confidential and commercially sensitive information had been leaked. The MGA decided to dismiss Farrugia and refer the matter to the police, who spent six months investigating.

Bail was denied despite appeals by the couple’s lawyers. Attorney general Nathaniel Falzon said investigations were ongoing and could lead to other suspects or civilian witnesses emerging, meaning there was a risk of tampering with evidence. 

Magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace also upheld a prosecution request to freeze the couple’s assets under the Money Laundering Act. 

Farrugia worked at the MGA for 10 years, initially as a licensee relationship executive and later as systems monitoring executive, information systems manager, head of ICT and records and finally chief technology officer. 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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