Jesmond Gatt was given the green light to become the next chairman of the Malta Financial Services Authority during a meeting of the Public Appointments Committee held on Wednesday.

Mr Gatt has served as chairman of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit for the past three years, leading the money laundering and financial crime watchdog through Malta’s greylisting by the global Financial Action Task Force, which singled out the unit in its assessment of the country’s failings.

He also served in different executive positions within the Central Bank of Malta, which he gave up to take on the role of CEO with Malta Government Investments, replacing Herald Bonnici at the helm of the national holding company that includes major state-owned assets like the Gozo Channel, the Kordin Grain Terminal, and Enemed among its many subsidiaries.

Minister for Finance and Employment Clyde Caruana congratulated Mr Gatt on his new venture and expresses his gratitude towards Prof. John Mamo for his services in the authority for the past five years.

During the committee meeting, Mr Gatt was grilled on whether he would publish the findings of an internal investigations into alleged breaches of ethics by Joseph Cuschieri, who led the MFSA between 2018 and 2020.

Mr Cuschieri, while still CEO of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), was found to have travelled to Las Vegas with Yorgen Fenech, at the time at the helm of Tumas Group, one of the largest business groups in Malta – and a licensee of the MGA -and who was later accused of being the mastermind behind the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Responding to a question posed by Nationalist Party MP Karol Aquilina, Mr Gatt said he would “raise it at board level, but I will also ask for legal advice on the repercussions of publishing it.”

“I am all for transparency but I have to see what implications it could have on confidence in the sector.”

He also denied there being a conflict of interest in being chief executive of both the MFSA and MGI, saying the two organisations were entirely different.

Mr Gatt declined to comment on reports that his predecessor, Joseph Gavin, is being handsomely remunerated despite relinquishing his role, on the grounds that he was not privy to such agreement.

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