The Maltese police have not been able to secure a single money laundering conviction over the past two and a half years, according to statistics provided to Lovin Malta.
Between 2018 and June 2021 the police charged 127 people with money laundering, managing to secure a conviction in 13 of those cases – all of which were secured in 2018. 114 of those charged still have their cases pending before the Maltese courts.
Broken down by year, the statistics reflect a greater emphasis being placed on money laundering cases by the police with 56 people being arraigned so far this year compared to 71 in the preceding three years combined.
Last week Malta was placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list of jurisdictions requiring supervision with the effectiveness of Malta’s anti-money laundering framework being called into question.
Malta’s police force has been criticised in recent years over a lack of prosecutions in money laundering investigations, though it must also be said that Malta’s court system is notoriously slow with many cases often taking years to be resolved.
In comments to the press following Malta’s greylisting, Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa refuted claims that the police weren’t doing their part, insisting that the police were well-equipped to investigate, charge and convict people suspected of money laundering.
He pointed to the increase in people brought before the courts and charged with such crimes.
“We are working in synergy with a number of entities in the country to ensure the police’s work reaches a conclusion, and I am the first one to admit that we want to see more convictions,” he said, adding that money laundering cases were often complex to investigate.
Gafa added that in recent months, efforts had been made to strengthen the cooperation with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit in order to ensure greater effectiveness in money laundering investigations.
What do you make of these statistics?