Prime Minister Robert Abela has suggested new Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech is partially to blame for Malta’s woes with Moneyval because of the way he conducted his tax affairs over the years.
“Moneyval had set us a list of prerequisites back in 2012 and we’re doing our utmost to satisfy them,” Abela told the press outside Parliament today. “One of they major complaints was that the tax authorities don’t criminally charge people who don’t pay their taxes, but rather allow them to settle administratively with the Tax Commissioner.”
“Ironically, that’s what the Tax Commissioner did with regards the new Opposition leader, so if we have a problem with Moneyval, then Bernard Grech, as well as Adrian Delia, are major contributors.”
Grech faced criticism about how he had settled an outstanding €30,000 tax bill during his successful PN leadership campaign and he himself admitted he “could have been more careful” to avoid this situation.
Malta failed a Moneyval test back in September 2019 and was given just over a year to address its shortcomings in its anti-money laundering regime. If the country fails the retest, it will be placed on the body’s “greylist” which will see the island subjected to enhanced monitoring procedures.
Employer bodies have warned such a move could prove detrimental to the Maltese economy.