Gaming & Investment Firms in Malta Penalised with €4.6M for AML Failures

  • Richard Marley
  • May 05, 2021
  • 3 minutes read
  • 159

The financial intelligence Analysis Unit has issued an annual report that shows that the total fine imposed by the agency is up to €4.6 million as it enhances its enforcement and supervision. 

€1.3 million penalty was enforced on the investment services firms after the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit carried out a supervisory examination last year. Gaming agencies received the second hardest penalty with €791,917 in fines by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit for breaching anti-money laundering controls. 

The annual report by FIAU for 2020 report reveals the figures as it was discussed in the parliament by Clyde Caruana, Finance Minister. 

The police carried out around nine prosecutions last year after a report was passed by the FIAU that pointed at the suspicions of financial crimes including tax evasion and money laundering. 

According to the report, remote gaming consists of half of the suspicious transaction last year. 2,485 suspicious transactions were flagged by the gaming industry accounting for 48% of the total reports that FIAU received. 

With 1,975 suspicious transaction reports, the credit institution came second accounting for 38% of the total reports received by the FIAU. According to the figures, the agency received a total of 5,207 STRs in 2020 which is an increase of 85% from the previous year. Virtual Financial Asset Agents flagged up to 61 suspicious transaction reports. The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit investigates the suspicious transaction report while the further suspicion of money laundering is investigated by the law enforcement authorities. 

The Financial Analysis Unit handed up to 4,500 intelligence reports to foreign counterparts, police and the tax commissioner. After the reports passed by the FIAU, The Inland Revenue Department regained €10 million in taxes.

Transaction activity consisted of a one-third of the suspicions flagged in 2020. Suspicious transactions resulted in the two main offences were fraud and tax crime. The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit sent up to 741 requests for cooperation by foreign jurisdiction while 250 requests were received by the agency. The major foreign request for cooperation was received by Germany, Italy, and the UK while the request by the agency was sent to Italy, Germany, the UK, the US, and Switzerland. 

The agency also introduced an electronic system that allows banks to upload the beneficial owners and all IBAN accounts on a regular basis. This allows the agency to easily trace all the Malta-based accounts without requesting each and every bank for it.