The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global anti-money laundering body, has placed Malta on its list of “jurisdictions under increased monitoring,” often referred to as its “grey list”.
The FATF announced its decision in a 25 June press conference, with Malta one of four countries added to the list alongside the Philippines, Haiti and South Sudan.
Countries on the list are considered to have “strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing”.
With regards to Malta, the body said that the country’s government had made a “high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and MONEYVAL to strengthen the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime”.
The FATF presented Malta with an “action plan”, focused on three prongs, which the Maltese government has promised to implement.
Through this plan, the country will “demonstrate that beneficial ownership information is accurate and that, where appropriate… sanctions… are applied to legal persons if information provided is found to be inaccurate”.
In addition, it is set to rely further on intelligence from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and better clarify the role of this body when compared to the Commissioner for Revenue.
Finally, Malta’s government will increase the focus of FIU analysis on money laundering and tax evasion, allowing for law enforcement to take further action against these crimes.
The move follows a report from the country’s Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) last month, warning that too many remote gaming operators only collect data that “add no value”. The report also found that all sectors, including remote gaming, saw an increase in suspicious transaction reports related to money laundering in recent years, but said that this was a positive as it showed greater transparency.
The Philippines, meanwhile, also agreed to a plan of its own to strengthen its AML and counter terrorist financing (CTF) policies, but this plan had seven action points, including one specifically focused on casino junkets.
The action plan included a requirement that the government use AML and CFT controls to “mitigate risks associated with casino junkets”.
The country’s government also promised to show “effective risk-based supervision” of designated non-financial businesses and professions, implement new registration requirements for money transfers and increase law enforcement access to beneficial ownership information.
In addition, it must show an increase in the use of and following up upon financial intelligence information, take appropriate measures regarding nonprofits and introduce more targeted sanctions where required.