Malta has passed the Moneyval assessment after strengthening its ant-money laundering regime. 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. Dayna Camilleri Clarke spoke to the Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Advocates and the Institute of Accountants to discuss their reactions to the initial report.
Chamber of Commerce, Dr Marthese Portelli, CEO
“Ahead of the Moneyval assessment, The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry had set up a Forum which included key stakeholders from the financial services sector. With a unified voice, the Moneyval Forum presented targeted advice on the assessment.
The objective was not only for Malta to pass Moneyval but also to provide a clear, long-term vision for the national prevention, detection, and prosecution of financial crime to be rolled out and pursued beyond the assessment itself.
Therefore, while welcoming the positive news, The Malta Chamber believes that it must not be taken as an excuse for complacency. Maintaining the highest standards is only possible through constant proactive action which keeps transparency at the forefront.”
Malta Institute of Accountants, Fabio Axisa, President
“The outcome of the Moneyval assessment, based on the feedback obtained so far, is a very positive development for the accountancy profession as one of the key players in the financial services sector. This outcome is a reflection of the fact that the major part of the profession continues to abide by high AML/CFT standards and has contributed in an active and decisive manner to the implementation and execution of key initiatives within the financial sector’s AML/CFT response.
We understand that the process and engagement with the FATF is still ongoing. In any case this will not constitute the end of the road as the process of complying with, and exceeding expectations in respect of international AML/CFT standards will remain a challenge for the coming few years. The rigorous process we are going through as a financial services jurisdiction, will strengthen our profession’s offering and positioning within the international scene. The recent developments will support restoring our reputation and standing, but all local market players and stakeholders will need to continue enhancing their application of highest standards to avoid further setbacks”.
Chamber of Advocates, Dr Louis de Gabriele, President
“The Chamber believes that a favourable Moneyval report is crucial for the reputation of Malta internationally and our ability to attract foreign business to Malta, where several legal practitioners are active. Accordingly, the Chamber welcomes such a positive development as a first step for the establishment of Malta’s international reputation.”
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.