FATF on-site visit to Malta set for April, Prime Minister says

Last Updated on Friday, 18 March, 2022 at 7:45 pm by Andre Camilleri

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s on-site visit to Malta will take place in April, Prime Minister Robert Abela has confirmed.

Malta is currently on the FATF’s grey list. The country was grey listed by the FATF in June 2021 after Malta was deemed to have made insufficient progress in two areas. These are related to information about the Ultimate Beneficiary Owners of companies and on efforts to combat money laundering deriving from tax evasion.

The FATF had said that in June 2021, Malta made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and MONEYVAL to strengthen the effectiveness of its Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.

At its February 2022 Plenary, the FATF made the initial determination that Malta has substantially completed its action plan. The FATF said that Malta has made the following key reforms: “(1) continuing to demonstrate that beneficial ownership information is accurate and that, where appropriate, effective, proportionate, and dissuasive sanctions, commensurate with the ML/TF risks, are applied to legal persons if information provided is found to be inaccurate; and ensuring 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 FIU’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 FIU’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.”

The FATF said that this warrants an on-site visit to verify that the implementation of Malta’s AML/CFT reforms has begun and is being sustained, and that the necessary political commitment remains in place to sustain implementation and improvement in the future. This visit is now set for April.

The Prime Minister hopes that in its June plenary, the FATF will give Malta the desired result, that is to get off the grey list.

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