Malta has promised it will soon implement the EU's latest anti-money laundering rules that should have been transposed into national law by January 10, as the jurisdiction will be hit with infringement procedures later this month if it fails to do so.
Under the 5th Money Laundering Directive (MLD5), that all EU states are supposed to implement public registers, open to those with a legitimate interest, of all companies incorporated in their territories. These registers are supposed to show who ultimately controls every company incorporated across most of Europe, with registers made accessible to tax inspectors and law enforcement.
Sources in Brussels said the European Commission was still waiting for the Maltese authorities to provide it with information, the Times of Malta reported. The European Commission had previously announced that it would clamp down on those countries who have failed to implement the directive.
Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said the relevant legal notices will be published in the coming week.
"The main Act which transposes the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive has been enacted and it was published in The Government Gazette.
"Subsequent to the publication of the main Act, four legal notices will be published to fully transpose the directive in its entirety. Malta will be one of the few member states to fully transpose this directive," Malta's government told the news outlet.
The push comes as the International Monetary Fund asked Malta to tackle shortcomings in its anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) framework in a timely manner.
"Failure to address identified shortcomings in the AML/CFT framework, as laid out by the Council of Europe's AML body (MONEYVAL), could expose Malta's financial system to financial integrity and reputational risks, threaten financial stability and magnify existing pressures on CBRs," the IMF said.
"As a result, difficulties in processing payments could potentially arise as well as pressures on related sectors of the economy. The focus should be on improving and demonstrating the effectiveness of the AML/CFT framework," it added.