Malta’s Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit will get more powers to investigate within a larger remit, Minister of Finance Edward Scicluna confirmed today.
This comes ahead of the anti-money laundering agency Moneyval’s deadline in October.
Currently, the FIAU can only present reports to the police to open investigations, as evidence gathered by the agency does not qualify as such in court.
The Finance Minister said that new laws are in the works to grant authorities tackling financial crime more powers to crack down on money laundering.
Malta had failed a Moneyval test back in September 2019 and was given just over a year to address shortcomings in its anti-money laundering regime.
A failure to do so could see Moneyval recommend that the Financial Action Task Force places Malta on its “grey list”, which will see the island subjected to enhanced monitoring procedures.
Scicluna insisted that the government is working on implementing all Moneyval’s recommendations to avoid failing its test next October, following US embassy official’s comments that it Malta’s greylisting was inevitable.
FIAU Head Kenneth Farrugia echoed the minister’s confidence that Malta is working towards meeting all recommendations by the money-laundering watchdog within the stipulated time.
Meanwhile, newly-appointed police commissioner Angelo Gafà has pledged to take a stronger stance against financial crime, his first action in office replacing Economic Crimes Unit head Ian Abdilla with Alexandra Mamo.