MALTA: Early Removal From FATF Greylist Unlikely, As Government Presents Plan To Address Concerns.

As published on lovinmalta.com, Monday 13 September, 2021.

The Maltese government has presented the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) with a plan to address anti-money laundering shortcomings in order for the country to be removed from the watchdog’s increased supervision grey list.

The Times of Malta reported this morning that the plan was presented to the FATF during an online meeting on Thursday.

The paper cited government sources who said that despite the plan being presented, it was unlikely that Malta would get off the grey list before 2023. The plan gives no immediate timeline for achieving its various aims.

Malta was placed on the FATF’s grey list in June, following two years of assessments, during which several concerns about it’s ability to seriously clamp down on money laundering and terrorist financing were raised.

Following its greylisting, Malta committed to addressing all shortcomings with an action plan having been drawn up by the country’s National Coordination Committee.

The plan is largely centred around a commitment to ramp up efforts when it comes to fighting tax crimes, including better policing of ultimate beneficial ownership rules, as well as better oversight of Malta’s tax refund system for companies with foreign shareholding, the Times reported.

Since being greylisted, financial practitioners have described a litany of problems being encountered by any company looking to affect cross-border payments involving Malta.

This includes small and started money transfers, which in some cases have gone from taking days to weeks.

After Malta was greylisted, Prime Minister Robert Abela said Malta would be redoubling its efforts to get off the list, giving what he described as a “high-level political commitment” to getting the job done as quickly as possible.

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