Malta’s AML regime improvements lead to removal from FATF increased monitoring
FATF voted to put Malta under enhanced monitoring in June 2021. The decision surprised the country's government, in the light of Malta's positive assessment by the Council of Europe's MONEYVAL organisation only a month earlier. That report assessed the jurisdiction as fully compliant on 12 of the 40 FATF recommendations and largely compliant on the other 28, with no non-compliant or partially compliant ratings.
When FATF places a jurisdiction under increased monitoring, so-called ‘grey-listing’ it, it means the country has acknowledged some strategic deficiencies in its AML regime but has committed to resolve them swiftly within agreed timeframes.
The reversal of Malta's grey-listing last week was due to its 'significant progress' in improving its AML regime to meet the commitments in its action plan regarding the strategic deficiencies identified by FATF 2021. These related to the detection of inaccurate company ownership information; sanctions on gatekeepers who fail to obtain accurate beneficial ownership information; and its pursuit of tax-based money laundering cases utilising financial intelligence. Malta is therefore no longer subject to increased monitoring, although it will continue to work with MONEYVAL to sustain its improvements.
At the same meeting, Gibraltar was put under FATF's increased monitoring, as FATF says it needs to ensure that supervisory authorities use 'a range of effective, proportionate, and dissuasive sanctions' for AML breaches and to demonstrate that it is more actively and successfully pursuing final confiscation judgments.
Gibraltar was last assessed by FATF in December 2019 and had a series of targets to meet by June 2022. These targets included completing a new national risk assessment; addressing technical deficiencies in beneficial ownership record keeping; introducing transparency requirements for nominee shareholders and directors; strengthening the financial intelligence unit; and refining its AML investigation policy in line with risks.
FATF says Gibraltar has made significant progress on these targets. The jurisdiction has also recently received a favourable assessment from MONEYVAL concluding that the jurisdiction is now fully or largely compliant on all but one FATF recommendation.
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