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Malta’s Government is “incessantly working” to address the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) National Action Plan “in a sustainable and effective way within a reasonable timeframe”, reads the state’s Pre-Budget 2022 consultation document.

It laid out what it described as “milestones” reached from when the Government committed itself to the action plan.

Broadly speaking, the Government is working to address three recommendations flagged by the FATF when it placed Malta under increased monitoring, or the so-called greylist earlier this year.

The three recommendations relate to demonstrating that beneficial ownership information is accurate with proportionate action taken against legal persons should inaccurate information be provided; enhancing the use of the country’s financial intelligence to support authorities pursuing criminal tax and money laundering breaches; and lastly, increasing the focus of financial intelligence agencies’ analysis on such breaches.

Therefore, the FATF’s action plan for Malta centres around two immediate outcomes:

Outcome 5 that addresses Legal Persons and Legal Arrangements and Immediate Outcome 6 that focuses on Financial Intelligence.

It is here that the authorities have said the Government is working tirelessly and listed three milestones since its June commitment to the FATF’s action plan.

The state noted legal amendments to the Criminal Code intended to strengthen the sharing of information, an MoU signed between the Malta Business Registry and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit to increase the sharing of information and collaboration for investigations, and aggressive outreach to the private sector informing them of obligations and duties.

“Additional internal work was and is being currently carried out with the target of enhancing ML/ TF risk in relation to these two immediate outcomes on tax evasion and beneficial ownership. A uniform understanding of what constitutes as high risk is crucial in order to have mitigation measures that are aligned with the identified risks.”

In a report by the Times of Malta on Monday (yesterday), the newsroom cited Government sources which said that Malta has officially presented the FATF with its own so-called action plan to get off the grey list of untrustworthy financial jurisdictions.

The Times said the Government presented its plan to the FATF during a virtual meeting last Thursday, with no timeline for how long the country expects to get off the grey list. One source said the process could stretch into 2023.

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