MFSA Board of Governors initiates fact-finding ‘assessment’ on Las Vegas trip

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The Board of Governors of the Malta Financial Services Authority has initiated a fact-finding ‘assessment’ on the facts reported in connection with a trip to Las Vegas involving its CEO, general counsel, and Yorgen Fenech – the man accused of masterminding the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The statement comes after it emerged that MFSA CEO Joseph Cuschieri and MFSA general counsel had travelled with Fenech on a trip to Las Vegas in 2018.

At the time of the trip, in 2018, Cuschieri was transitioning from the Malta Gaming Authority to the financial services watchdog. Licari was still employed as legal advisor to the gaming authority.

A fourth person – Keith Schembri’s former personal assistant, Charlene Bianco Farrugia – also attended the trip.

Cuschieri said he had been asked by Fenech, who had been interested in an investment in the US, to give regulatory advice. He told The Malta Independent that he had not been paid for his service but would not go into detail about the advice he had given to Fenech.

Fenech paid for the flights and the accommodation was covered by the hotel – Caesar’s Palace.

In a statement, on Friday evening, the MFSA said that the Board of Governors after a discussion has “decided to initiate an assessment of the facts reported to safeguard the interests of the Authority.”

“The review is to be conducted in the most transparent and ethical manner”, the MFSA said.

They re-confirmed that both Cuschieri and Licari had voluntarily suspended themselves “until all the necessary assessments are concluded and a final decision is taken on both cases.”

Meanwhile, the MFSA announced that Christopher Buttigieg had been unanimously appointed by the Board of Governors as the Acting CEO of the authority.

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