Malta has passed the Moneyval assessment after strengthening its ant-money laundering regime, government sources have confirmed.
The Council of Europe body had given Malta until last year to conduct an overhaul of its anti-money laundering legislation. Failure to do so could have led to Malta being greylisted by the Financial Action Task Force, a move that could have spelt the death knell for the financial services industry.
It had said that Malta was highly exposed to illicit finance and lacked the resources and infrastructure required to prosecute and seize assets from money launderers and the criminals they serve. Malta was given 58 recommendations.
The reforms carried out included strengthening the roles of the Malta Financial Services Authority and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, setting up the police force’s Financial Crimes Investigation Department and providing training on anti-money laundering crimes to members of the judiciary.
The government submitted its final progress report to the Moneyval experts on 5 October of last year.
It is understood that the process for Moneyval to assess the report and come up with a final decision was delayed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with experts having to postpone their visit to Malta.
While Moneyval has approved of the reforms and given Malta a pass grade, its assessment report will only be officially published later on this year.
SME Chamber welcomes positive Moneyval result
While combatting the effects of Covid, Malta was also fighting another important battle to stay off the Moneyval grey listing. It is therefore even more exceptional that during a crises of the extent of Covid Malta managed to achieve such an important result.
The Moneyval opinion, tough not the final one, was awaited with great anticipation by the Chamber of SMEs. A negative opinion would have led to catastrophic consequences on our economy and this catastrophe has now been averted.
A positive outcome such as this one is documented proof that Malta has turned the page. Whilst scrutiny will continue and so will Malta’s efforts to keep up progress, the positive position of Moneyval in relation to Malta’s report goes a long way in addressing the serious shortcoming our country has lived through in the recent past.
The SME Chamber congratulates the Prime Minister and the Minister for Finance on this positive achievement.
Malta Chamber welcomes favourable Moneyval vote
The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry is pleased to see that the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering expert committee has voted in favour of approving a final report on Malta.
Whilst welcoming this news, The Malta Chamber believes it is imperative to ensure continued observance of the anti-money laundering measures whilst ensuring the processes adopted do not impose disproportionate bureaucratic burdens on the financial services industry.
The Malta Chamber stresses that success can only be achieved through a unified approach, and all efforts need to be focused on maintaining the highest of standards through constant proactive action and keeping transparency at the forefront.
MEA breathes a sigh of relief
The Malta Employers’ Association expressed satisfaction and relief following Moneyval’s positive review, which is the result of extensive reforms to a governance structure that was failing on many counts. The Association said that this is an important initial step towards an uphill process of restoring Malta’s reputation in the global financial system, and augured that the Financial Action Task Force will likewise give a positive review and remove the threat of greylisting Malta.