A number of shops in tourist zones, mostly in St Paul’s Bay and Bugibba, have been identified and are now under police investigation for offering unlicensed foreign currency exchange services, according to a report on Times of Malta.

Currency exchange is a regulated activity subject to the issue of a licence by the Malta Financial Services Authority.

In a notice issued last week, the authority warned that exchanging currency without a licence may be considered as a criminal offence and subject to criminal action.

“The Malta Financial Services Authority stresses that unregulated activity carries a number of risks for consumers, ranging from the potential for money laundering to unofficial rates being used to the detriment of consumers,” it said.

The shops in question were found to be operating the illicit services openly, even advertising current exchange rates on signs placed outside their shops.

One business was caught red-handed during a mystery shopper exercise.

Sources said the offenders are now expected to be charged in court.

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