Malta Conference 2024

Westin Dragonara Resort May 22, 2024

Embark on an unforgettable experience at the 46th ABL Conference in Malta, hosted by David Zahra & Associates.

Immerse yourself in a world of networking with esteemed professionals, gaining fresh insights, and indulging in a captivating agenda featuring enlightening panels and exciting tourist activities. Seize this golden opportunity!

The event will unfold at the luxurious Westin Dragonara Resort, a 5-star haven boasting breathtaking ocean views.

The curated agenda includes exploring the historic Mdina, the island's ancient capital, a walking tour through the picturesque Valletta, a European gem renowned for its architectural marvels and rich history, and dining experiences at some of Malta's finest restaurants.

The conference agenda counts with cativitagin speakers and engaging personalities, such as Madam Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament,

Speaking on ABL's 47th Conference:

Roberta Metsola (President of the European Parliament)



Roberta is a Maltese politician. She is a member of Malta's Nationalist Party (PN) and the European People's Party (EPP), she has been serving as president of the European Parliament since January 2022. Metsola was first elected to as a member of the European Parliament (MEP) in 2013, and became the First Vice-President of the European Parliament in November 2020. Following the death of the incumbent president David Sassoli, Metsola was elected as president of the European Parliament on 18 January 2022, becoming the youngest ever president, the first Maltese person to hold the office, and the first female president since 2002.

Matthew Caruana Galizia (Director at The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation)



Matthew is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. He worked at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) for five years, where he founded the organisation’s Data and Research Unit in 2014 and was a lead engineer on six major investigations: Offshore Leaks, Swiss Leaks, Luxembourg Leaks, Fatal Extraction, Panama Papers, and Paradise Papers. He is a co-founder of The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation. After his mother Daphne's assassination in a car bomb attack in 2017, his family inherited more than 40 defamation lawsuits that had been filed against her. They turned that experience, with the support of MEPs, civil society organisations, and the European Commission, into a campaign for "Daphne's Law" - the EU Anti-SLAPP Directive. Matthew is participating in the panel discussion Silencing the Silencers: The EU’s Anti-SLAPP Initiative.

Justin Borg Barthet (Founder and Convener of the Anti-SLAPP Research Hub)



Justin Borg-Barthet is a Professor of European Union Law and Private International Law at the University of Aberdeen, where he is also the founder and convener of the Anti-SLAPP Research Hub. Justin regularly acts as a consultant on legal reform relating to his research. He advised the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Parliament and a coalition of press freedom NGOs on the introduction of anti-SLAPP legislation, and is a member of the European Commission's Expert Group Against SLAPP. He is also a co-author of the Model EU Anti-SLAPP Directive and the lead author of the Anti-SLAPP Curriculum for lawyers in the European Union. In addition, he has advised the European Parliament on a review of the Brussels IIa Regulation, and was a member of a steering committee advising the European Commission on the possible introduction of legislation concerning the cross-border mobility of companies. His research was cited with approval in AG Wathelet's Opinion in Case C-673/16 Coman. Justin is participating in the panel discussion Silencing the Silencers: The EU’s Anti-SLAPP Initiative.

Evelyn Borg Costanzi (Human Rights and Constitutional Law Lawyer)



Evelyn is a lawyer specialising in human rights and constitutional law, in which fields she has represented several clients before the European Court of Human Rights. In recent years, she has successfully argued cases before the domestic constitutional courts regarding freedom of expression and the right to life, leading to landmark judgments. In her practice, Eve has represented a number of journalists and activists in cases targeted towards limiting, inhibiting or preventing freedom of expression, frequently referred to as “SLAPPs”. In recent years, Eve was part of the legal team assisting the family of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in the public inquiry into her death. In 2022, Eve was appointed an independent expert on the MSI-SLP Committee of Experts on Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation of the Council of Europe, a committee tasked with drafting a Recommendation to target SLAPPs in Europe. She served as Gender Equality Rapporteur on the committee. Eve is also currently a member on the Legal Affairs Committee (LAC) of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), a non-profit organization based in Leipzig. The Committee is tasked with offering non-binding advice and guidance on any requests for legal support from journalists and media outlets facing threats. Eve is also a member of the Chamber of Advocates, the Public Interest Litigation Network (PILN) - of which she is presently a sitting committee member - as well as a member of the civil society network Repubblika. Evelyn is participating in the panel discussion Silencing the Silencers: The EU’s Anti-SLAPP Initiative.

Jonathan Pace (Associate at Combined Maritime Services Limited)



Jonathan Pace is an associate at Combined Maritime Services Limited. He is the former Deputy Director, Technical Cooperation Division, International Maritime Organization (IMO) where he was responsible for programming and coordinating the Organization’s technical cooperation programme. Before joining IMO in 2002, he was the Deputy Executive Director and Registrar of Ships at the Malta Maritime Authority (now known as Transport Malta) between 1992 and 2002, and prior to that, between 1988 and 1992, served as an Administrative Officer at the Parliamentary Secretariat for Offshore Activities and Maritime Affairs in Malta. During his time in the service of the Government of Malta, Mr Pace was intrinsically involved in the formulation and implementation of merchant shipping polices and related legislation including important amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act and participated in various international maritime fora as part of Maltese delegations. He was also very much involved in the establishment of the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) in Malta and in the Malta-EU accession negotiations on shipping. Jonathan is presenting Navigating Success: Malta’s Rise as a Maritime Hub.

Vincent David-Robin (Financial Specialist)



Vincent David-Robin has been working in the financial industry since 1987.
He has been based in New-York, Tokyo, London, Paris and Malta.
He has been the CEO of two investment managers (London/Dubai/Malta/Ireland and
Malta/London respectively), a partner in two hedge funds, Co-Head of proprietary
trading across Europe both at JPMorgan and Merrill Lynch, and a Managing Director
of both institutions.
He holds a first class MPhil in Economics from Sorbonne University and an MBA
from Neoma business school. Vicent is participating in the panel Home Away from Home: Understanding Malta's Residence Programmes.

Gary Quin (Senior Advisor with Cohen Capital Markets)



Gary Quin is Irish born but with a long standing relationship with the island of Malta.
Gary is currently a Senior Advisor with Cohen Capital Markets, a US based investment bank and until recently was CEO of Nasdaq listed North Atlantic Acquisition Corp. Previously Gary was Vice Chairman of European investment banking at Credit Suisse and was a Senior Advisor to the Blackstone Group.
As CEO of private equity firm Blackrock Communications, Gary was an investor in and a board member of Melita Ltd, the Maltese telecoms and cable TV company which Blackrock bought as part of a consortium from Liberty Media in 2007 and sold to EQT in 2015.
Gary holds a MBA from Trinity College Dublin and has also studied at Oxford University and Harvard Business School. Gary is participating in the panel Home Away from Home: Understanding Malta's Residence Programmes.

Charles Cassar (Founder of Shoulder Compliance)



Charles Cassar is the founder of Shoulder Compliance and is widely recognized as one of the leading consultants in the Maltese anti-financial crime sphere. Charles brings broad insight and expertise in anti-financial crime, which he developed over many years in external and in-house legal counsel and compliance positions. He is well known for his approach to anti-financial crime and compliance consultancy, combining a strong knowledge of the relevant rulebooks with a good understanding of operational and technical realities across various industries. Charles' previous experience includes leading the compliance function of a European Systemically Important Institution, heading the compliance and legal departments of a fintech bank, and many years of experience as a commercial lawyer acting as external counsel on a large number of transactions. Charles is participating in the Fireside Chat: Unpacking the EU’s New Anti-Money Laundering Package.

Michael Farrugia (Executive Director and Deputy Chief Executive  of Simonds Farsons Cisk plc.)



Michael Farrugia is an Executive Director and Deputy Chief Executive of Simonds Farsons Cisk plc. Mr Farrugia joined the Farsons Group in 2006 and has played a leading role in numerous capital investments and innovations over the years. He is the Chairman of Farsons Beverage Imports Company Ltd., and a Director of Trident Property Estates plc., Multigas Ltd. and Farrugia Investments Ltd. Mr Farrugia was educated in the UK and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh (MA) and Warwick University (MBA).
Michael is participating in the Panel Discussion Beyond Borders: Positioning Malta in the Global Arena.

Christopher Muscat (CEO of Hudson Holdings Ltd)



Christopher Muscat joined Hudson Holdings Ltd in 2006 as a director and shareholder. Mr Muscat has been actively involved in establishing and growing the various business ventures across the organisation that have significantly expanded the Hudson Group’s profile and turnover. Before joining the Hudson Group, Christopher Muscat served as a senior manager at Deloitte Malta and took on the role of CEO of the company in 2019. Christopher is participating in the Panel Discussion Beyond Borders: Positioning Malta in the Global Arena.

George Vella (Chairperson, Finance Malta)



George has over 20 years’ experience in corporate and project finance, research and development, strategic and project management, starting his career in 1995 at one of the big four accountancy firms where he worked in assurance, advisory and risk management arms. In 2001 he joined the Corinthia Group and fulfilled a number of roles both locally and abroad, including that of Finance Director at the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal in Budapest and Corporate Finance Executive at the Corinthia Head Office. Tasks included business planning and budgeting processes, feasibility studies and acquisition bids, the implementation of a standard accounting package, raising of funds for project and corporate finance. In 2005, he took on the role of Head of Corporate Strategy at APS Bank and was a member on the Bank’s risk management and credit committees. At Grant Thornton, George and his team provide a variety of services including financial control, internal audit, evaluation services, assistance in the preparation of business plans, feasibility studies and cost benefit analyses, business valuations, assistance with mergers and acquisitions, project finance and corporate finance advisory services. Apart from the management and leadership of the firm’s advisory practice, George also still holds various technical roles in high profile advisory assignments, including EU funding projects and applications as well as fund raising for the private sector, both through negotiating bank loans or raising private equity, and through assisting in public equity and bond listing. George is participating in the Panel Discussion Beyond Borders: Positioning Malta in the Global Arena.

See you in Malta!

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