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SURVEY: How Much Do You Know About The Battle Against Money Laundering In Malta?

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Money laundering is a global phenomenon and Malta has not been spared. Authorities like the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) have been battling hard to fight money laundering and to bring the country up to scratch with international standards. Their efforts have paid massive dividends, and Malta has improved in leaps and bounds in its abilities to combat this pervasive issue.

Now, with the help of Malta’s FIAU, we’re asking you to let us know what you think about the fight against money laundering as part of its efforts to increase awareness. 

Malta’s anti-money laundering and law enforcement agencies fight some of the world’s most horrid crimes, whether that’s drug trafficking, human trafficking, fraud or corruption, or the funding of international and domestic terrorism. 

Maltese authorities play a crucial role in the global fight against money laundering, forming part of a well-oiled machine in the worldwide battle against criminals.

Unlike what too many people think, money laundering is not a victimless crime, with everyone, including yourself, paying the price. It benefits only criminals who want to whitewash the proceeds of their crimes, and those crimes impact everyone directly, touching upon every stratum of society.

Without anti-money laundering and law enforcement authorities, crime could continue unabated. Their expertise is crucial to identify the murky structures and the layering of money by laundering professionals. 

Maltese authorities, such as the FIAU, have been key in this battle and are obtaining positive results. Their determination and commitment to address areas that required improvement have contributed significantly to Malta’s successful bid to pass a second crucial MONEYVAL test.

After MONEYVAL acknowledging that Malta has truly implemented a raft of changes when it comes to technical reforms, Malta will now be further scrutinised by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in May-June. The FATF is a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog of which MONEYVAL is an associate member. The FATF is expected to analyse Malta’s reforms from an effectiveness point of view.

Through reforms, various authorities have adopted a ‘tigers and flies’ approach to money laundering; taking action when and where is due without fear or favour. In 2020, the FIAU alone issued over EUR 4 million in fines for compliance breaches and received over  5,000 Suspicious Transaction Reports, each having to be thoroughly analysed, resulting in over 4500 disseminations of intelligence both to Maltese and foreign authorities.

Authorities have also started taking criminal action in cases of serious tax evasion. This means that people can be charged with tax evasion, as well as with laundering the money they did not pay in tax. Tax evasion and money laundering are two different crimes even if committed by the same person. 

If all this rapid change in the island’s anti-money-laundering regime is sustained, it will mean nothing less than a huge shift in Maltese mentality – that of understanding that the fight against ML/FT is critical to stopping criminals from enjoying the good life whilst society and the individual suffer.

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Julian doesn’t like to talk about himself. But if he did, he would let you know that he’s into anything that has got to do with politics, the environment, social issues, and human interest stories.
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FIAU

The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit is the national central agency in Malta that is responsible for the collection, collation, processing, analysis and dissemination of information with a view to combating money laundering and the funding of terrorism. The Unit became operational on the 1st October 2002 when it was established by virtue of Legal Notice 297 of 2002, which brought into force the comprehensive amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act that were enacted by means of Act XXXI of 2001. Though set up as an agency within the Ministry responsible for finance, the Unit has separate judicial personality and operates autonomously from its own offices with its own staff. Visit our website to find out more about the FIAU, its remit and its operations.

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