The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has reportedly demanded former chief executive Jospeh Cuschieri hand back over €23,000 (£20,766, $28,006) in additional payments he received between 2019 and 2020.
According to an investigation by Maltese newspaper The Shift, the ex-MFSA boss, who was on a €150,000 package for leading the regulator, was also receiving extra payments for attending board meetings, despite this being part of his role as chief executive.
A claim Cuschieri denies.
After this article was published, the legal counsel for Cuschieri sent a statement to International Adviser which read: “Your article is misleading and factually incorrect because there were no unauthorised payments to Mr Cuschieri behind no one’s back.
“Any suggestion that my client was involved in any wrongdoing are baseless in fact and at law.”
According to The Shift article, it seems that the only person who was aware of this was the watchdog’s chairman John Mamo, while the rest of the board was left in the dark.
Over the last two years, Cuschieri received €23,233, on top of his salary, to attend board meetings, the investigative news website discovered.
But payments stopped all of a sudden in 2020 when the board found out about the additional money and put an end to the payments.
Reportedly, the former chief executive was paid more than the other governors of the MFSA – who were given, on average, €12,000 a year – while he was receiving €20,000 per annum.
The only board member who received a higher annual payment was Mamo who received €35,000 in 2019.
International Adviser contacted the MFSA but did not receive a comment in time for publication.
Cuschieri stepped down from the top job at the Maltese regulator in November 2020.
The decision came shortly after several local media outlets reported he took an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas with casino owner Yorgen Fenech, only a month after taking the c-suite position at the MFSA.
Fenech is currently being investigated over his alleged involvement in the murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 15 January following the receipt of a letter from Joseph Cuchieri’s legal counsel.