The Maltese regulator has taken the measure following the arrest of its former compliance officer.
Malta.- The Malta Gaming Authority has announced that it has banned former compliance officer Iosif Galea from acting as a director for any of the gaming businesses that it licences. He has been stripped of one current directorship.
It said it had notified Galea of the cancellation of any approvals for him to act as director for Maltese gaming licensees. He only held one such position at the time.
Galea was arrested in Italy last month on a European Arrest Warrant when he was reportedly travelling in a group in which former Maltese Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, was also present. Galea was wanted in Germany on accusations of tax evasion, but Galea was also on police bail in Malta on a case involving the alleged leak of information from the MGA. The police force in Malta has been criticised for allowing Galea to leave the country.
The MGA said in a statement at the time: “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 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.
His 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.