Evarist Bartolo fb image

In another cryptic Facebook message typical of Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo, he levelled accusations against “big countries”, saying they “have ways of getting away with murder”.

These days I have been thinking a lot about what the Athenian general and historian Thucydides observed about the war…

Posted by Evarist Bartolo on Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Mr Bartolo posted the message early on Wednesday (today), the same day where the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is poised to take a final vote on whether to greylist Malta, a move that would see the country join an international list of jurisdictions deemed untrustworthy in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

“The small countries find those who lecture them, investigate them, accuse them and condemn them. They find far fewer who will help them. As far as responsibilities, international obligations, laws and conventions are concerned … small countries are expected to abide by them more than the big ones,” Mr Bartolo wrote in the early hours of the morning.

BusinessNow.mt reached out to the FATF in a bid to establish the voting procedure, to which it explained that decisions are taken “by consensus”. The plenary is made up of 39 members: 37 jurisdictions and two regional organisations (the European Commission and the Gulf Co-operation Council).

Currently, the plenary is being led by Germany and will be voting and discussing on various matters throughout this week.

On Friday afternoon, the FATF will host an official press briefing where all its decisions for the week will be communicated, however it is not as of yet clear whether an official announcement will be made on Malta following today’s vote.

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana has continued his media blitz this week, highlighting how Malta has done all it could to meet the requirements.

“We’ve delivered in full, and we’ve done what was asked out of conviction. We’ve done this because we need to change things for the better and we are committed to continuing working on this whatever the outcome on Wednesday,” he said earlier in the week.

According to unconfirmed reports that have yet to be denied by Government officials, the UK, the USA, and Germany are among the major holdouts in keeping Malta off the grey list.

MaltaToday reported that a major sticking point has been Malta’s refusal to ratify a Council of Europe treaty on sports betting, known as the Macolin Convention.

Additionally, the Times points towards “lax controls” of Malta’s cryptocurrency oversight as some €60 billion in virtual assets moved through the country when it first pronounced itself as being the ‘blockchain island’.

Since implementing a regulatory framework for blockchain and cryptocurrency, controls have been stepped up as part of Malta’s efforts to comply with Moneyval recommendations, however, this initial lack of control has reportedly been deemed “problematic” by international experts ahead of today’s FATF vote.

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