Malta must change its “Mediterranean-like” mentality on taxation in the wake of its FATF greylisting, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri has argued.
Appearing on a panel on ONE TV’s Paperscan, Camilleri said that while the government considers the FATF’s verdict to be unfair, it will carry out implementing the necessary systematic reforms because “reform is in the Labour Party’s DNA”.
“The Finance Minister has already sent out clear signals that we should all pay our taxes,” he said.
“We’re a Mediterranean country and our mentality is the same as the likes of Italy, Greece and Cyprus – it’s part of a system that has been here for many years.”
“We’ve already implemented several changes and we need to change our mentality. In recent months, we sent out signals that the mentality is changing and that it will keep on changing. The Prime Minister certainly isn’t scared of change and reforms.”
Camilleri expressed confidence in Malta’s ability to get back on the white list, harking back to scepticism from some quarters, including the PN, that the country would be able to pass its second Moneyval test.
“Not everyone enjoys change, and I remember some people, professionals and lobby groups complaining that the changes we had implemented led to more bureaucracy and obligations.”
“However, the Prime Minister and we were convinced that we were on the right track and Malta passed its Moneyval test in a year when we also faced the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The FATF has strongly indicated that Malta’s greylisting was partially due to tax-related issues.
In its report, the organisation said the island has pledged to enhance its financial intelligence into “criminal tax and related money laundering cases”, including by clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the Commissioner for Revenue and the FIU.
The FIAU’s focus on these kinds of offences will also have to increase to help Maltese law enforcement detect and investigate such cases “in line with Malta’s identified money-laundering risks related to tax evasion”.