Malta’s recent efforts to combat money laundering appear to be sufficient to please Moneyval, with Times of Malta reporting that the island is set to pass a crucial test next month.
Quoting anonymous sources, Times said a private document that Council of Europe member states have been circulating among themselves indicates Malta has implemented enough changes to pass the test at next month’s plenary session.
This will undoubtedly come as good news for Malta’s financial services industry; a failure to pass Moneyval’s test at the second time of asking could see the island grey-listed by the Financial Action Taskforce, an intergovernmental organisation to combat money laundering.
However, the island is not yet in the clear.
At the end of the month, Moneyval – the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering body and a member of the FATF – will assess whether Malta has taken its technical and legal recommendations on board since September 2019.
Several changes intended to clamp down on money laundering have been implemented since then. Human resources at the police’s financial crimes unit have increased threefold and the entire unit has moved out of the Floriana depot and into a new block in Santa Venera.
Meanwhile, a €10,000 cash limit has been introduced for the sale of property and other valuable items, and designs for a new asset recovery bureau were recently launched.
Then in June, the FATF will discuss the effectiveness of the anti-money laundering regime, which will include a look at how many people and companies have been prosecuted and how many assets have been confiscated.