Rule of law NGO Repubblika on Thursday added its voice to calls for MFSA chairman Joseph Cuschieri to resign or to be sacked by the government after travelling to Last Vegas with Yorgen Fenech. The 2018 trip was paid by Fenech and came two weeks after Cuschieri stepped down as chairman of the Gaming Authority.
Fenech, a major business leader and casino owner, stands charged with conspiracy in the 2017 assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
"The fact that Cuschieri accepted to travel to Las Vegas in a trip paid by Yorgen Fenech and be hosted in luxury casinos while running the MFSA and a month after stepping down as chairman and CEO of the Gaming Authroity is a serious breach of professional ethics and confirms that he did not deserve to occupy those posts," Repubblika said.
Cuschieri on Wednesday insisted there was no conflict of interest or ethical breach.
Republikka said it it was surprising that Mr Cuschieri was not ashamed of arguing that he had just stepped down from the Gaming Authority. No one became so friendly as to have an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas within a month, the NGO said.
Furthermore at the time Cuschieri was still holder of an important post in the financial services industry.
What had happened was disgusting and the government had a duty to act, more so as this was a continuation of other 'famous trips' which Fenech had with former police assistant commissioner Silvio Valletta, while handing expensive Petrus wine and a Bulgari watch to then prime minister Joseph Muscat.
Indeed, it was about time that the government investigated how many public officers travelled with Fenech, Repubblika said.
It warned that Cuschieri's refusal to resign from the MFSA could also impact the ongoing Moneyval evaluation of Malta's financial services.