MGA distances itself from arrested former compliance officer

Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has distanced itself from a former compliance officer who was arrested last week and is under investigation for his suspected part in the leaking of confidential MGA information.

Iosif Galea was detained on a European Arrest Warrant while on holiday in Italy with a group that included Malta’s former Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat.

Galea has been wanted by the German authorities since last year over alleged crimes including tax evasion. The Times of Malta reports that he was already on police bail in Malta over an alleged leak of information from the MGA when he departed for his holiday in Italy.

Galea has been an igaming regulatory compliance consultant in Malta for more than six years, having previously been employed by what was then the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) for six years until 2013. According to his LinkedIn profile, his duties at the LGA included licensing and post-licensing as well as investigations on gaming systems and licensed operators.

In a statement, the MGA said: “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.”

Galea’s arrest came in the same week that former MGA chief technology officer Jason Farrugia pleaded not guilty to a number of charges, including money laundering, acceptance of bribes and fraud.

The Times of Malta reports that police are investigating why Galea was not arrested in Malta and was allowed to leave the island multiple times despite being subject to an arrest warrant.

MP Joe Giglio told reporters: “I cannot understand how we did not know about the European Arrest Warrant. This basically means that the Home Affairs Minister and the Police Commissioner have failed because a request for assistance by another country to fight criminality was ignored.

“This is a threat to our country because it means that if there are other people around the world who have arrest warrants issued against them, the airport, our ports… have no idea these exist.

“Because if nobody knew about the Galea warrant, what guarantee do we have that this is not the case with others?”

Author: Raymond Fleming