‘Money laundering is organised crime’ - PD calls for action
Flows of illicit money can damage the integrity, stability and reputation of the financial sector and the credit system, Partit Demokratiku said in a statement yesterday.
Money laundering, the financing of terrorism and organised crime are significant international problems that may also have close ties to the illicit trade of drugs and human trafficking.
The European Union’s Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive specifically targets the prevention of (anti-legal or) illegal misuse of the financial sector by setting minimum standards, while it increases the harmonisation of relevant legislation within the EU.
PD said it intends to safeguard Malta’s role as a reputable financial centre, more so as this is a highly competitive area. “With regret, the PD notes that the prevailing political-financial scenario induced by the government has put Malta in a bad light internationally.”
PD said Maltese legislation has two statutory instruments, namely the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations. Parliament is addressing this EU directive by applying the former legislation.
Partit Demokratiku said it found it indeed strange that this EU directive is not being transposed en bloc by amending our laws, when we should have done so by last June and when preparations have been ongoing since 2015. This means that in the near future the Ministry for Finance has to enact further subsidiaries. The fact that this has not yet been done does not augur well for Malta’s financial sector transactions. The government should have risen to the occasion in due time as our credibility is stake.
PD noted that the deputy prime minister, on behalf of the minister for finance, is addressing this transposition by the setting up of a national hand-picked ministerial committee backed by certain entities. This will be set up in parallel and will water down the established Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).
Partit Demokratiku said it is concerned that rather than consolidating the FIAU’s responsibilities and increasing its transparency, this legislation is effectively minimizing the FIAU’s role. It seems that the government does not have the will to abolish money laundering across the board through an autonomous institution beyond its command.
Key elements that need transposition from the Fourth EU directive are: • Emphasis on ultimate beneficial ownership and enhanced customer due diligence (CDD) Expanded definition of a politically exposed person (PEP) Expansion to include the entire gambling sector beyond just casinos Enhanced risk-based approach, requiring evidence-based measures PD also asked: “How prepared are we to cater for the introduction of cryptocurrency with the present law?”
It urged Minister Edward Scicluna to take stock of the local situation and strive to strengthen Malta’s national and international standing. • • •