Following local reports saying that members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) are divided on whether to ‘grey-list’ Malta, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana cautioned that the process could be hampered by “ulterior political motives”.
Despite a passing grade by the Council of Europe’s Moneyval committee, its worldwide parent organisation, the FATF, in particular three member nations, have pushed to grey-list the jurisdiction. It is believed that the US, the UK and Germany are pushing for Malta’s greylisting.
This would be the first EU member state to receive such treatment and would see Malta on a global list of offenders with regards the fight against money laundering.
Malta enters the final 23rd June FATF vote with three ‘low level of effectiveness’ points and zero non-compliances. Despite this, earlier this week, a preliminary meeting with experts from member countries of the FATF did not give Malta the green light. Therefore, next week’s vote is no longer a formality but a crucial day for the island.
Commenting on the developments, Minster Caruana said:
“If we follow the logic that a country should pass the test on the basis of this exercise [Moneyval technical assessment], Malta will pass.
“But, if the technical process is hampered by ulterior political motives, the outcome there will be a closed box. If this happens, this will be unjust with all the serious work that is being done and was done over the past year-and-a-half, and it would neither do justice towards the Maltese people.
“Despite our small size, this remains a sovereign state with its own identity, flag and national anthem. Like other countries protect their interests, we too will be taking all steps to protect the country’s interests and that of our people”.
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