Home International organisation Malta, first EU Member State to be registered on the FATF gray list

Malta, first EU Member State to be registered on the FATF gray list

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Malta became the first European Union member state to be graylisted by the International Financial Action Task Force, in what is a shocking move for labor administration.

Malta was placed on the gray list for money laundering today when 39 FATF members decided its fate, in a consensus marked by stiff resistance from the US, UK and Germany.

The decision was taken around 2:30 p.m., after Malta failed to secure the necessary support from FATF members. Romania, another EU member state, was also on the gray list.

The decision comes despite Malta joining a Moneyval assessment in which it achieved a high compliance rate on various recommendations.

But this decision comes at the end of the years during which the Malta labor administration presided over a weakening of anti-money laundering rules: from the sale of citizenship to wealthy individuals, criticized by the European Commission; in the harsh light of its Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and the inaction of the Panama Papers when it was revealed that the prime minister‘s right-hand man had created a secret offshore company, Malta has never been too far removed from international scrutiny .

Under the German chairmanship of Marcus Pleyer, delegates representing 205 members of the FATF global network and observer organizations, including the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units took part in the virtual meeting of the FATF plenary.

For five days, they discussed key issues to strengthen global action against the financial flows that fuel crime and terrorism.

The wording of the recommendation on which FATF members were to vote was not made available to MaltaToday by the international organization, which said its internal discussions were confidential.

The organization, which serves as a watchdog against money laundering and terrorist financing, is currently headed by the German Presidency.

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana expressed disappointment earlier this week that despite the approval of the Moneyval anti-money laundering test last month, “some countries” were still pushing for Malta to be on the gray list.

A high-level source within one of the island’s regulatory authorities said it was “unfortunate that the decision-making process has taken a political turn.” He insisted that Malta had implemented all technical and legal recommendations made by Moneyval.

The sentiment was reflected by financial services practitioners. In a statement released on Monday, the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners (IFSP) said Malta had made substantial progress in recent years to address concerns about the effectiveness of its anti-money laundering regime.

“The IFSP and its members expect the demonstrable improvements made by the country to form the basis for all decisions taken by the FATF as it deliberates on whether to place Malta under increased surveillance (the gray list ) or not, ”the organization said.

An initial reaction came from Nationalist MP David Casa, said the decision was the result of years of high-profile corruption and money laundering accusations. “Members of the government have been caught stealing from people and laundering money: Panama, Montenegro, 17 Blacks, Electrogas … and yet no action has been taken by the authorities. Instead of taking action against the powerful, the lives of ordinary people have been made miserable just to open a bank account. “

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