The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has outlined three areas Malta must work on following its grey-listing.
FATF chairman Marcus Pleyer released a statement on the organisation’s updated grey list, which added Malta, Haiti, the Philippines and South Sudan as jurisdictions under increased monitoring who are actively working with the FATF to “address strategic deficiencies” in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation funding.
Only one country, Ghana, was removed from the grey list following the last FATF assessment. Despite reports in the Maltese press, Romania was not added to the list, making Malta the only greylisted EU member state.
Malta’s section states that the government has made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and MONEYVAL to strengthen the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime.
“Since the adoption of its Mutual Evaluation Report in July 2019, Malta has made progress on a number of the MER’s recommended actions to improve its system, such as: strengthening the risk-based approach to FI and DNFBP supervision; improving the analytical process for financial intelligence; resourcing the police and empowering prosecutors to investigate and charge complex money laundering in line with Malta’s risk profile; introducing a national confiscation policy as well as passing a non-conviction based confiscation law; raising sanctions available for the crime of TF [terrorist financing] and capability to investigate cross-border cash movements for potential TF activity; and increasing outreach and immediate communication to reporting entities on targeted financial sanctions and improving the TF risk understanding of the NPO sector.”
It says Malta has pledged to implement its FATF action plan through three points:
1. Continuing to demonstrate that beneficial ownership information is accurate. Where appropriate, effective, proportionate, and dissuasive sanctions, commensurate with the ML/TF risks, will be applied to legal persons if information provided is found to be inaccurate. It will also ensure that effective, proportionate, and dissuasive sanctions are applied to gatekeepers when they do not comply with their obligations to obtain accurate and up-to-date beneficial ownership information.
2. Enhancing the use of the FIAU’s financial intelligence to support authorities pursuing criminal tax and related money laundering cases, including by clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the Commissioner for Revenue and the FIU.
3. Increasing the focus of the FIAU’s analysis on these types of offences, to produce intelligence that helps Maltese law enforcement detect and investigate cases in line with Malta’s identified ML risks related to tax evasion.
Cryptocurrencies and the blockchain sector are not mentioned in the FATF’s statement at all, despite a Times of Malta report warning that the FATF had flagged “lax oversight” of the industry and Finance Minister Clyde Caruana even mulling killing the fledgling sector in its cradle.
The FATF is delivering a press conference and you can follow the proceedings live below.
What do you make of this list?