The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), Europe’s most prolific online casino license provider and regulator, is putting space between the regulatory body and alledged bad actors who are facing legal woes.
Former compliance officer, Iosif Galea was recently arrested in Italy while out on bail in Malta for an alleged leak of information from the Gaming Authority. He was wanted in Germany on charges of tax evasion.
Galea was a compliance officer with the regulatory body when it was the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA). He left in 2013. Galea went on to freelance in compliance, consulting, and other related endeavors for about 3 more years in Malta after that.
MGA Distances Itself from Former Compliance Officer
The MGA posted a statement distancing itself from Galea on the Authority’s official website on June 1, 2022, that stated in its entirety: “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.”
The arrest follows a court hearing last week wherein another senior gaming authority official and his wife were denied bail when they appeared in court on money laundering charges.
The couple was charged together and both pleaded not guilty to money laundering.
Jason Farrugia, 34, was the former chief technology officer for the MGA until December of last year.
He was also charged separately with a host of additional crimes including accepting bribes, extortion, fraud, misappropriation, computer misuse, trading in influence, and disclosing confidential information.
According to the Times of Malta, Farrugia resigned his position after being suspended in December when he learned he was suspected of regularly accessing commercially sensitive confidential and purportedly leaking that information.
In December, the MGA also issued a statement about Farrugia: “The MGA hereby declares that Jason Farrugia, formerly Chief Officer Technology within the MGA, no longer has any connection to the MGA and can no longer represent it or speak on its behalf,” said the regulator.
The investigation had been ongoing for about 6 months according to the Times.
Bail Denied for ex-CTO and Wife
After arguments from defense counsel and prosecutors which included worries that unnamed or yet unknown potential witnesses or more direct evidence could be at risk of tampering, the magistrate denied the request for bail for both of the defendants.
Defense counsel argued that all evidence was preserved with the magisterial inquiry, so the risk of tampering was reduced.
The couple was separated from a three-month-old baby and another year and a half old child when led out of court, the mother in tears.
According to a May 27 article in the Times of Malta, it is believed that Farrugia leaked sensitive and restricted internal information to Galea.
Galea earlier appeared as a witness against a top aid of former European Commissioner John Dalli who had been charged with soliciting a bribe of €60m in another industry.
Source: MGA distances itself from arrested former compliance officer, iGB, June 1, 2022
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