Wanted gaming consultant Iosif Galea lost out on his authorisation to operate in the sector earlier this year and will be stripped of his directorships in gaming companies and other related businesses.

Sources told Times of Malta that earlier this year Galea had been informed by the Malta Gaming Authority that his approval to act as what is known as a key function holder with gaming companies would not be renewed when it expired in September.  

A key function holder is authorised by the regulator to carry out important corporate tasks related to gaming services and licensees.

These can range from running the company, to offering audit, compliance, or legal advice. 

The decision not to renew his approval came on the back of a series of irregularities with gaming companies he represented that were flagged by the authority last year.

These included late dues ranging into the tens of thousands of euros and other administrative shortcomings. In one case, Galea was handed a €52,000 fine after a series of breaches and more than €65,000 in dues related to Evobet Ltd, a company he acted on behalf of. 

According to his LinkedIn profile, Galea works as a regulator compliance specialist and igaming consultant.

It is understood that the process to strip Galea of directorships he holds in licensed gaming companies has been accelerated since news broke that he is set to be charged in court.

The formal procedure is expected to be concluded this month.

Police want to charge Galea with data leaks

He is wanted by Malta police to face charges over his suspected involvement in a racket that saw commercially sensitive information leaked from within the MGA. 

Jason Farrugia, formerly the MGA’s chief technology officer, was last month charged with money laundering and fraud among other offences after he allegedly leaked sensitive client information from the regulator. 

His wife, Christine, 26, was also charged. Both were denied bail. 

Soon after, it emerged that Galea was arrested in Italy on the back of a European Arrest Warrant issued by German authorities about a separate tax evasion case. 

The independent police complaints board has been tasked with conducting an internal investigation to see how Galea was allowed to repeatedly travel out of Malta despite already being the subject of an EAW.

And on Wednesday, Nationalist MP Joe Giglio said Galea had been under police bail when he left Malta.

At the time of his arrest, he was holidaying with a group that included former prime minister Joseph Muscat, who denied any connection to him. 

MFSA fined Galea €53,000

It turns out that in the months before Galea’s arrest in Italy, the MGA had issued a notice informing Galea that he would be served with a formal warning over his conduct. 

While that warning was pending, the Malta Financial Services Authority issued Galea with a €53,000 fine.

The MFSA had not given details of what the fine related to at the time, saying only that he had been offering corporate services he was not eligible to carry out. 

Times of Malta has confirmed that Galea had taken up directorships on companies he represented as a consultant and that these directorship fees exceeded the exempt limit. 

He has since filed an appeal against the fine through his lawyers.

Galea was previously a compliance officer at the MGA, which was called the Lotteries and Gaming Authority at the time but left in 2013.

Witness in John Dalli case

No stranger to controversy, he had appeared as a witness in the case against former European Commissioner John Dalli’s top aide, Silvio Zammit.

Zammit, who died earlier this year, was facing criminal proceedings since 2012 over his alleged request for a €60 million bribe from snus manufacturer Swedish Match and the European Smokeless Tobacco Council, a lobby group, to help lift a ban on the chewable tobacco.

Galea had been questioned over claims he tipped Zammit off about the investigation.

His name also made headlines last year when a Maltese-licensed gaming company he was involved in was linked in media reports to an international financial scam targeting elderly people across the continent. 

The scam, which allegedly stretched into hundreds of millions of euros, was tied to former owners of the company.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us