Malta has passed the Moneyval assessment after strengthening its ant-money laundering regime, government sources have confirmed.
The Council of Europe body had given Malta until last year to conduct an overhaul of its anti-money laundering legislation. Failure to do so could have led to Malta being greylisted by the Financial Action Task Force, a move that could have spelt the death knell for the financial services industry.
It had said that Malta was highly exposed to illicit finance and lacked the resources and infrastructure required to prosecute and seize assets from money launderers and the criminals they serve. Malta was given 58 recommendations.
The reforms carried out included strengthening the roles of the Malta Financial Services Authority and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, setting up the police force’s Financial Crimes Investigation Department and providing training on anti-money laundering crimes to members of the judiciary.
The government submitted its final progress report to the Moneyval experts on 5 October of last year.
It is understood that the process for Moneyval to assess the report and come up with a final decision was delayed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with experts having to postpone their visit to Malta.
While Moneyval has approved of the reforms and given Malta a pass grade, its assessment report will only be officially published later on this year.