Prime Minister Robert Abela on Sunday insisted he would not celebrate a positive result for the Moneyval anti-money laundering review of the country, saying more work needs to be done.
Dr Abela said that while he was confident of Malta’s efforts, he does not want to inspire complacency by letting people think it is mission accomplished.
“This is not the time for euphoria. We do not want to undo the hard work that has been done. In fact, we need to continue working to improve our laws and their enforcement. We cannot go back to the structural deficiencies of previous years,” he said.
The Prime Minister was speaking after the Times of Malta cited Government sources to reveal that Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval) has taken a positive view of Malta’s overhaul of its financial crime laws and that the nation is expected to receive a passing grade.
This means Malta seems likely to avoid a grey-listing, that could have had a potentially ruinous impact on the country’s financial services sector.
Responding to the revelation Malta was heading for an “all-clear”, Roberta Metsola, First Vice President of the European Parliament, took to Twitter, saying she hopes the nation will indeed be granted the all-clear but decrying that “it should never have come to this”.
Since the country’s shock failure in a 2019 Moneyval test, sweeping reforms have been introduced, such as personnel changes across a number of watchdogs, the reforming of the police’s economic crimes unit and the investment in additional resources for the financial services authority.
Most recently, in March, a €10,000 limit on cash transactions was introduced in the country.
In January, Dr Abela insisted Malta had addressed the issues raised by the report, saying the Government has “ticked all the boxes”.
The final decision on Malta’s grey-listing will be made by the Financial Action Task Force, but they will take into account Moneyval’s position.
Government coffers were boosted by higher revenues from tax income
The move was welcomed by banking regulators around the world
Malta has been at the forefront of the introduction of cell companies in the European Union