Finance Minister Clyde Caruana is refusing to explain why former Malta Financial Services Authority chief executive officer Joseph Gavin is still being paid €11,000 a month by the financial services regulator after he stepped down from the position.
The MFSA issued a formal notice last summer announcing the early retirement of its Irish CEO, after having been in the position for less than a year. Without elaborating, the MFSA simply stated that Gavin had “decided to retire early” following a long absence from his place of work “due to medical reasons”.
Speculation had already been rife that Gavin would be parting ways with the MFSA by the time of the announcement as he had not been seen at work for a whole month.
The Shift has now discovered that despite his decision to “retire early”, he is still being paid €11,000 a month from the public coffers for reasons still unknown.
According to recent information tabled in Parliament, Gavin will be receiving some €65,000 for six months from September until, at least, March 2023.
Asked to explain why Gavin is still being paid by the MFSA although he left the position last September, neither Minister Caruana nor his spokesperson replied to The Shift’s questions.
Sources at the MFSA told this newsroom, however, that Gavin had been “paid to leave through some form of consultancy contract”. Gavin, a former lawyer at the Central Bank of Ireland, was hired by the MFSA in September 2021 on a €162,000 salary.
Upon his appointment, Gavin hit the headlines right away for all the wrong reasons. After asking to be interviewed by The Times of Malta, he cancelled the interview when he decided he did not like the questions being put to him.
The MFSA announced last September that it has appointed long-time MFSA employee Michelle Mizzi Buontempo as Acting CEO.
Gavin had replaced former disgraced CEO Joseph Cuschieri, who was forced to step down after being embroiled in a scandal. He, together with the MFSA General Counsel Edwina Licari, had gone on a paid holiday to Las Vegas that was funded by Yorgen Fenech, who is involved in casinos, hotels, and the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Cuschieri stepped down just before the MFSA was about to be handed an investigative report drawn up by former Chief Justice Joe Azzopardi.
Despite her serious failings, the report did not recommend any action against Licari, who was recruited at the MFSA by Cuschieri, but who, unlike Cuschieri, retained her role at the financial services regulator and her a €100,000-a -year-plus salary.