The global organisation tasked with combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorism, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), is today (Friday) closing off a week of Plenary sessions, with delegates to “hear the progress made by some jurisdictions identified as presenting a risk to the financial system”.
Malta counts itself among those jurisdictions identified as presenting a risk, after in June 2021 it was placed under increased monitoring, the so-called grey list, which signals to the global business and banking community that there could be heightened risks of doing business in the country.
The international watchdog had flagged three main concerns: the accuracy of information surrounding beneficial company ownership, enhancing the financial intelligence agencies to support authorities to pursue criminal tax and money laundering cases, and an increase in the FIAU’s focus on pursuing and sharing information on these types of offences.
With its latest plenary meetings being held between 1-4th March 2022, the FATF announced that among other items on its agenda, delegates representing 206 members will also “hear the progress made by some jurisdictions identified as presenting a risk to the financial system”.
“The outcomes of the FATF Plenary will be published on Friday 4th March, at the close of the meeting”.
Last month, and before Government announced the 26th March general election, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that Malta had completed the action plan to get itself removed from the FATF grey list.
“We worked hard in recent months to complete the action plan, we completed the action plan and the process with the FATF is proceeding satisfactorily,” Dr Abela said during an appearance on TVM discussion show Xtra.
“I can give positive news about it. However, I must be cautious because the worst possible course of action would be to take up the Opposition Leader’s narrative, to arrogantly tell the FATF that Malta will get off the greylist three months after he becomes Prime Minister. That is a guarantee that you won’t get off the grey list,” he said.
Also last month, the US also weighed in, saying it appreciates Malta’s efforts to implement the FATF action plan.
In January 2022, Government revealed that it had submitted all documentation on the efforts and progress made between the June 2021 announcement and December 2021.
Last October, FATF president Marcus Pleyer said that while Malta was making “good progress” in its implementation of the action plan, more work needed to be done.
The unemployment rate hasn't been above 3% since May 2022
The companies have long been operating in sync
The FIAU has not yet appealed the latest ruling