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The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) of Malta will continue to expand its operations through a number of measures, including by hiring new staff to bring its staff headcount to 150 by the end of 2021, it has announced.

The organisation, charged with the combating of money laundering and the funding of terrorism in Malta, said the investment will allow it to ramp up the number of inspections and compliance reviews it can carry out.

In its report, titled “Malta Financial Services Oversight”, the authority says that alongside the increase in staff numbers, it will continue to invest in IT tools, resources, and staff training to meet its commitments, and expand the operations that it says “are already bearing fruit”.

“The outcomes of this investment have been clearly reflected in both supervision and enforcement activities”, the FIAU suggests in the report.

It 2020, the FIAU conducted “numerous administrative measures including, among others, 20 administrative penalties from compliance reviews to the tune of €3.8 million across all supervised subject persons”

Furthermore, the organisation describes how, since June 2020, it has successfully implemented the GoAML system, developed by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to help improve both the quality and breadth of information received.

The operations of the FIAU seem likely to be further scrutinised in the coming year, as scandals continue to rock Malta.

For example, in recent weeks, it was alleged that a Malta-licensed iGaming company, RaiseBet24.com, laundered more than €62 million for Italian mafia organisations. 

The use of Malta by illicit groups for the purposes of money-laundering has been further emphasised over the weekend, as a feature article in Forbes emphasises that the gambling industry in Malta, and the “corrosive effect” of the money it brings, has become a “cause for concern” amongst its EU peers. 

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