Finance Minister Edward Scicluna has denied that Malta will be seeking a 6-month extension for Moneyval’s review of the country’s anti-money laundering regime.
Last September, Moneyval, the European branch of the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, ruled that Malta remains highly exposed to illicit finance but lacks the resources and infrastructure required to prosecute and seize assets from money launderers and the criminals they serve. Malta has until October to implement Moneyval’s 58 recommendations for bolstering its campaign against financial crime to avoid inclusion on the group’s “grey list” of high-risk jurisdictions. Being placed on the grey list would be a very serious problem for Malta.
Times of Malta reported that Malta may ask Moneyval for a 6-month extension, but the Finance Minister said this afternoon that this is not the case.
Scicluna said that Malta has not spoken to anyone about any extensions. The only extension that had been given to Malta was from June to October due to the Covid-19 situation. The Finance Minister said that Malta is preparing for that deadline.
He said that whoever is spinning this story of an extension it is because they think that the government fears the deadline, but it is not the case.
Recently, Former Director of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit director Manfred Galdes commented on the threat of Malta being grey-listed by the Financial Action Task Force, saying “the outcome is inevitable,” and that Malta should be focusing on “softening the blow and getting out of the grey list within the shortest time possible.”