You think it’s something that doesn’t affect you, until you realise that everyone is a victim of financial crime, including yourself.
It’s something that should be taken much more seriously, especially in a rapidly digitalising world where criminals are becoming more innovative with their money laundering ways.
Thankfully, Malta has a robust financial crime and anti-money laundering unit with some brilliant, experienced and sharp minds on the frontlines fighting for transparency, control and security.
Lovin Malta spoke to three seasoned professionals from three different authorities to better understand anti-money laundering operations, who takes care of it and how each authority works together to help keep the currency coming through our country clean.
Carl Brincat, CEO at Malta Gaming Authority
It might not seem like it at first, but the MGA has a very specific role to play in the fight against financial crime…
“We are first of all gatekeepers, so we make sure that our licensees are not owned or managed by criminals,” Brincat said.
“We are also a supervisory authority so we are an agent of the FIAU unit. We conduct inspections and make sure that gaming operators are playing by anti-money laundering rules,” he said.
Andreea Capatina, Manager Financial Intelligence at FIAU
There might be a lot of misconceptions about the FIAU, but don’t let any delude you from the fact that the organisation plays a vital role when it comes to preventing money laundering…
“There’s a public misconception about what the FIAU can and cannot do under its powers,” she said. “The FIAU does not investigate, it doesn’t have the ability to remove licences and doesn’t grant licences. These are our two main misconceptions.”
“We bring insights into typologies, risks and provide this information to both the public, to better risk assess their products and to defend themselves from typologies, as well as provide other competent authorities to take adequate actions,” she said.
Anthony Eddington, Head of Financial Crime Compliance at MFSA
But why should we fight financial crime?
“It erodes society and it undermines society as well,” he said.
“In the last two years, we’ve seen a massive shift in the positive direction. There’s a regulated industry now that embraces the compliance culture and we are changing the global concept of Malta of being a weak link because it was never a weak link.”
Financial crime doesn’t just break the law, it destabilises the local economy, impacting each and every one of us.
One thing we learned is that a lot of the hard work happens behind the scenes, and if you don’t hear about it… that means they’re doing a good job with it.
“There’s a lot going on and very much of it is behind the scenes,” Eddington said.
And that combating money laundering and financial crime is a group effort, with the public and private sector coming together to report and act upon criminal activities.
“Everyone has a part to play in fighting financial crime,” Eddington continued.
The arms of money laundering operations reach far and wide and extend throughout a web of criminal activities including human trafficking, drug trafficking, fraud and corruption.
All these ‘predicate offences’ require money that needs to be cleaned and laundered, with some making their way to Malta’s shores and companies.
“We heavily depend on the public and private sector to report their suspicions,” Capatina said.
However, with agencies such as the FIAU, MFSA and MGA working in tandem to erect barriers and set obstacles in the way of money laundering schemes, rest assured that Malta is in good hands for the future.
“The fact that Malta ups its game in this fight means that we can collaborate better with international counterparts so oftentimes you have complex international structures at play here,” Brincat said.
“If we have strong institutions we can collaborate with foreign counterpart regulators, foreign law enforcement and we can together fight this international aspect of this crime.”
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