I faced this issue recently with 1.3.
The problem was that my settings.xml contained an empty <localRepository/> element. A minimal settings.xml that would reproduce the issue would probably be:
MVERIFIER, when processing that element (Verifier.java line 1883 in MVERIFIER 1.3) throws a SAXException. It should probably use the default value instead of throwing, as Maven otherwise has no problem with the empty element (and uses the default value).