A gaming consultant wanted in Malta over an alleged racket involving leaked information from the regulator has been arrested in Italy, but for a separate German investigation linked to tax evasion.
It transpires that Iosif Galea is the subject of two separate European arrest warrants, one from Malta and another issued by Germany.
Galea was arrested within the past days in an undisclosed location in Italy on the back of the German authorities’ warrant.
It is not yet clear whether he will be brought to Malta or if he will first face investigators in Germany.
Galea was previously a compliance officer at the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), which was called the Lotteries and Gaming Authority.
He left the MGA in 2013, according to his own LinkedIn profile, and became a gaming consultant. Investigators believe he has since received sensitive insider information from within the regulator and may have passed this on to interested parties.
He is expected to face money laundering and tax evasion charges in Malta.
Earlier this week, another former senior gaming authority official and his wife were charged in court in connection with the leaking of sensitive insider information from the gaming authority.
Jason Farrugia, 34, former chief technology officer at the MGA, and his wife, Christine, 26, pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday.
They were jointly charged with money laundering while Farrugia was separately charged with a raft of other offences that include extortion, accepting bribes, fraud exceeding €5,000, misappropriation, trading in influence, disclosing confidential information and computer misuse.
Both were denied bail.
A review exercise is being carried out – MGA
Sources at the MGA said a review exercise is being carried out. They said internal audits were already concluded and nothing affecting Malta-licensed operators had yet been detected.
Galea has already 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.
At the time, Dalli was health commissioner and the scandal had led to his resignation.
A decade later, Dalli was finally charged in court in connection with the case back in February.
Galea was closely connected to John Dalli, Silvio Zammit
Galea, who was closely connected to the pair, was questioned over whether he tipped off Zammit about the investigation into Dalli.
Galea’s father, Francis, is currently the chief of staff of Alison Zerafa Civelli, junior minister for local government.
In recent years, Galea has reinvented himself as a consultant to gaming operators.
Last year, he was fined over €53,000 for “unauthorised business activity” and directed to cease operating as a corporate services provider.
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.
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