The MFSA's former human resources director, who was paid to retire only to be re-employed in the same position by an offshoot of the financial services regulator, was personally involved in drafting the rules pertaining to his retirement.

George Spiteri, at the time a director of the Malta Financial Services Authority, drafted the rules of the early retirement scheme which was later approved by the board.

The Sunday Times of Malta recently revealed that after his resignation was accepted and he was paid more than €150,000 to retire from the MFSA, Mr Spiteri was re-employed as head of HR with an offshoot of the authority, the Registry of Companies.

“On the instructions of MFSA CEO Joseph Cuschieri, Mr Spiteri was tasked to draft the rules of the lucrative scheme and which, unlike similar schemes, did not include any conditions for those benefitting from a golden handshake,” sources said.

Clauses on revolving-door policies are normally inserted in schemes related to golden handshakes to prevent beneficiaries from taking sums of money without actually retiring.  However, in the case of the MFSA scheme, no such rules were inserted.

An MFSA spokesman confirmed Mr Spiteri had drafted the rules of the scheme but insisted he was not solely responsible.

“As head of HR, Mr Spiteri oversaw all HR-related matters as expected in his professional capacity,” the MFSA said.

He added that “policies and initiatives at the MFSA pass through established channels and are approved at multiple levels of the organisation creating a system of checks and balances”.

Despite not retiring, Mr Spiteri has so far not been asked to return the money paid for his retirement. 

“This is a big injustice for those of us who served the MFSA for many years. We were told in no uncertain terms to either transfer to the Registry of Companies or move out,” a senior employee at the registry said.

So far, Mr Spiteri has refrained from replying to questions sent.

When Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Silvio Schembri was confronted with claims that he was involved in Mr Spiteri’s lucrative deal, he insisted that the MFSA “is an autonomous authority and there is no interference in its day-to-day operations”.

In 2014, when Mr Spiteri was responsible for the recruitment of the Registry of Companies, as part of the MFSA functions, the Parliamentary Secretary’s wife was recruited as manager at the same registry. The Parliamentary Secretary declined to comment.

Last week, NGO Repubblika asked the National Audit Office to start a formal investigation on this case.

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