Malta has enacted legislation to fully transpose the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive. This directive has been transposed into Maltese law by virtue of amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the enactment of new regulations under said act, and through the publication of various regulations intended to set up beneficial ownership registers for companies, trusts, associations, foundations and other legal entities.
The Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive revises and improves upon the Third Money Laundering Directive and incorporates the latest Financial Action Task Force Recommendations in the field of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.
These legislative enactments will further strengthen the Maltese legal regime for combating money laundering and funding of terrorism through a number of concrete measures.
The Prevention of Money Laundering Act will now provide for the setting up of a National Coordinating Committee composed of: the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Finance, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry For Justice, Culture and Local Government,the Governor of the Central Bank of Malta, the Commissioner for Revenue, the Chairman of the Malta Financial Services Authority, the Chairperson of the Malta Gaming Authority, the Commissioner of Police, the Attorney General, the Chairman of the FIAU and the Chairperson of the Asset Recovery Bureau. The Chairperson of the committee shall be the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Finance.
This committee will be coordinating the development of a national strategy to combat money laundering and the funding of terrorism. The act continues to enhance the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit’s role in the fight against money laundering and the funding of terrorism, especially when it comes to cooperating and exchanging information with international counterparts and local authorities. Furthermore, it strengthens the FIAU’s abilities to supervise and sanction breaches of AML/CFT preventative measures.
Another distinctive characteristic of this new set of rules is the greater emphasis placed on the risk-based approach to the implementation of preventative measures by financial institutions, gaming companies, and other operators and professionals. 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.
Regulations issued under the Companies Act, the Trusts and Trustees Act and the Civil Code will introduce stricter transparency requirements on companies, trusts, and other legal entities and their ultimate beneficial owners. The Malta Financial Services Authority will subsequently be keeping a register of beneficial owners of companies and trusts 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 who are able to demonstrate a legitimate interest in accessing such information.
Minister For Finance Edward Scicluna stated that “whilst the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive goes a long way to address current needs, we are pleased to note that the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive has obtained the needed agreement of the Parliament and the Council and now, member states will be given an eighteen month period to transpose it.”