‘Money laun­der­ing is or­gan­ised crime’ - PD calls for ac­tion

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

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. • • •

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