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The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit fined €2.2 million in the first half of 2023. A constitutional court in March found that the fines imposed by the anti-money laundering unit were unconstitutional, putting the unit in jeopardy of losing its powers.
According to parliamentary statistics, as of the end of the first half of 2023, the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit had imposed fines worth €2.2 million. Judge Josette Demicoli ruled that the FIAU should not be classified as a court because it is not entitled to impose administrative penalties that violate the European Human Rights Convention.
According to Clyde Caruana, Finance Minister, 17 court cases have been filed against the FIAU for alleged constitutional violations. The FIAU continued to impose fines following the March decision, according to statistics presented by Caruana this month. Between April and June, the FIAU issued approximately €780,000 worth of fines. The unit was fined €3.1 million last year for violating anti-money laundering laws by companies and individuals.
The FIAU imposed a maximum of €5 million under the laws regulating its operation. After Malta’s gray-listing by the watchdog, the FIAU increased its financial sector supervision as a response. Earlier this year, former FATF president Marcus Pleyer urged Malta not to deprioritise combating financial crime.
According to Pleyer, this has happened in “many countries” following an evaluation by the FATF. The FATF evaluations often divert resources from key authorities needed to combat terrorism financing and money laundering. Pleyer said, “My advice is to seize the opportunity to continue reforms after gray-listing. The process has made Malta a much better place for fighting money laundering. People in key authorities have a much better understanding of the risks and have better structures in place to detect, investigate and disrupt illicit financial flows.”