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Malta’s Prime Minister announced the news at a conference on Wednesday after local media reported Malta had been graylisted by the global anti-money laundering watchdog.
The FATF (Financial Action Task Force) has put Malta on the gray list, a move that can have serious consequences on the economy of the island, announced Prime Minister Robert Abela on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister called the decision out to be unjust at a news conference and promised to push ahead with planned reforms to eliminate ever-increasing financial crimes.
The Paris-based intergovernmental body, FATF, voted to put Malta on the list of untrustworthy jurisdictions. A secret vote was held earlier in the day, after which sources close to the FATF announced the results. Being on the gray list, Malta will now be facing increased monitoring from regulatory bodies.
While the FATF is yet to announce the decision, the country’s Prime Minister confirmed the results after news broke on local media.
— EU Global Facility on AML/CFT (@globalamlcft) June 23, 2021
At a news conference, Robert Abela hastily stated:
“We remain committed to making whatever reforms are needed while preserving the national interest. We will never be uncooperative or obstructive, but will intensify our resolve to fight money laundering and the financing of international terrorism.”
The FATF was forced to make this move after international criticism on Maltese policymaking arose, particularly regarding money laundering, the sale of national passports, and the lack of legal action against government officials mentioned in the Panama Papers.
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Bernard Grech, the opposition leader, called the FATF’s announcement a “national punishment” for the country, particularly for the fast-growing financial and gaming sector that accounts for almost a fifth of the economy.
Sources have also revealed that the other country added to the FATF’s gray list, is Romania.
On becoming the Prime Minister, Abela introduced a series of reforms, including the appointment of a new police commissioner and strengthening the Financial Intelligence and Analysis Unit, the body responsible for combating financial crime
As of February, the FATF has increased the monitoring of 19 countries due to “strategic deficiencies”. Some countries mentioned in the list include Zimbabwe, Syria, Panama, Myanmar, and Albania.
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