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Malta Legislates To Adopt EU Anti-Money Laundering Standards

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
20 December, 2017

Malta has transposed the EU's Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive into its domestic law, strengthening the island's anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.

The law enacting the Directive's provisions also provides for the creation of a National Coordinating Committee, comprising top-level officials.

The Committee will spearhead the development of a national AML/CTF strategy and seek to enhance the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit's role in the fight against money laundering and the funding of terrorism, including by empowering the Unit to better supervise the territory's financial services sector and penalize those who breach the AML/CTF rules.

The Government said the new rules "place greater emphasis on a risk-based approach to the implementation of preventative measures by financial institutions, gaming companies, and other operators and professionals." It added: "This will provide a greater degree of flexibility for institutions and operators in a bid to ensure that the implementation of preventative measures is more effective, and that it is focused on areas that present higher risks of money laundering and funding of terrorism. This will result in a more efficient deployment of resources."

According to the Government, regulations issued under the Companies Act, the Trusts and Trustees Act, and the Civil Code will introduce stricter transparency requirements on companies, trusts, other legal entities, and their ultimate beneficial owners.

The Malta Financial Services Authority, which regulates the island's financial services sector, will keep a register on the beneficial ownership of entities in the territory, which will be accessible to competent authorities, financial institutions, and other operators when carrying out customer due diligence measures, as well as to other persons able to demonstrate a legitimate interest in accessing the information.

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