FATF

The parent organisation of Council of Europe’s Moneyval, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), is reportedly divided over whether to greylist Malta, a move that would see the country on a global money-laundering offenders’ list after a panel of experts gave mixed reviews on Tuesday.

The Times of Malta cites sources as having said that the experts did not come to a unanimous decision on whether or not to place Malta on the so-called grey list.

Evaluators met on Tuesday to give a recommendation, and, should the final vote go against Malta, the country would be categorised among those which are not deemed serious enough in the fight against money laundering.

The FATF will now convene a plenary session, made up of around 200 jurisdictions, to take the final decision. The vote is to take place on 23rd June 2021.

In a separate local report, Lovin Malta cites “informed sources” that assessors from the USA, the UK and Germany took a position against Malta during Tuesday’s evaluation session. This means, therefore, that the 23rd June vote is no longer a formality, but a crucial test for Malta.

Since Malta’s shock 2019 failure of a Moneyval assessment, Malta has undergone sweeping reforms to beef up its fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Finance Minister Clyde Caruana, upon announcing Malta’s passing grade by Moneyval earlier this year, had warned that the story does not end here and that the FATF will have to give the final green light.

One sticking point which appears to be a bone of contention is Malta’s veto on an EU sports betting convention. The Macolin Convention aims to redefine the definition of illegal sports betting, which would require Malta-based betting operators to honour the laws of the jurisdiction in which players using the online services are based.

This would mean that Malta-based operators would need to apply for licences in each jurisdiction it offers its services, rather than the current scenario where it is licensed in Malta and can operate freely across the EU.

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