On 29 April, various media reported that Malta’s efforts to clamp down on money laundering has won Moneyval’s approval, with the nation’s AML regime passing a review by the Council of Europe’s committee. Financial experts had warned that grey listing by FATF would come as a massive blow to Malta’s financial services industry and would discourage foreign direct investment in the country. Although grey listing remains possible, passing the Moneyval test will surely give Malta a major boost. The Council of Europe body had given Malta until last year to conduct an overhaul of its AML legislation. Moneyval 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 FSA and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, setting up the police force’s Financial Crimes Investigation Department and providing training on AML crimes to members of the judiciary. The government submitted its final progress report to the Moneyval experts on 5 October. However, the assessment report will only be officially published later on this year. Moneyval has voted during a plenary in Strasbourg to approve a final report on Malta.
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