Moneyval is not the end of the road, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana said, highlighting that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) still has to take its decision about Malta.
The Finance Minister addressed a press conference on the same day that the Council of Europe confirmed that Malta has passed the Moneyval assessment, with the country no longer having any “non-compliant” or “partially compliant” ratings.
It said that “Malta has achieved full compliance with twelve of the 40 FATF Recommendations constituting the international AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism) standard.”
Minor deficiencies remain in the implementation of another 28 recommendations, where Malta was found to be “largely compliant”. Malta no longer has “non-compliant” or “partially compliant” ratings, the Council of Europe said.
Addressing the press, the Finance Minister said: “A few years ago, foreign institutions told us that we needed to make certain changes in our institutions and legislation in order for the country to ready the same level of conformity as other countries. Malta took this challenge seriously.”
He said that over the past 17 months, the government’s commitment to this job was extraordinary, “and was noted by the private sector, that saw the swift changes in legislation and in our institutions.”
Referring to the test itself, the minister said that there were nine areas in which the government had to make changes as the country was not reaching the required levels. “We worked to achieve the jump in quality required.”
The report, he said, concluded that Malta passed all the criteria in all of those areas. “There was not a single field in which we failed. Wherever we were told that we needed to improve our position, Malta’s position improved enough to pass from every layer.”
The government, the minister said, worked in the interest of the country, to guarantee stability in the financial sector, in regulatory work and to guarantee the livelihoods of thousands. “We are also guaranteeing that the country’s level of governance is on the same level as other EU countries.”
The Moneyval members met and approved the report that was drafted, he said.
The road was not easy, he said, but added that this is not the end of the road. One thing remains – the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). He said that Malta passed ‘the exam’ referring to the technical Moneyval report. An FATF plenary session between 24 countries and five institutions will now be held within a month and will look at the reports written about Malta.
“It is after this that we will be able to say that this story has closed. So far the result has been positive, but the whole story on the question as to whether or not Malta will be grey-listed or not will close once the FATF decision is taken.”
He said Malta has done all that was asked of it. “Even the EU Commission praised us and helped us a lot. It showed complete trust in our country.”
“Malta worked wholeheartedly to achieve the trust of the EU Commission and EU member states. We want to preserve all the work we have done. I give my word that our country will continue to work on and strengthen what we have achieved in the months and years to come. This country made a commitment and that commitment will be respected. As such I also await others to see that our country is making a big push forward.”