Malta sees 157% increase in suspicious transaction reports

Pedro Gonçalves
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Malta sees 157% increase in suspicious transaction reports

Malta's Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) has reported a 157% increase in suspicious transaction reports (STRs) in 2019 from 2017, with 2,778 STRs received.

The anti-money laundering unit also reported an unprecedented increase in the number of requests for information received from other domestic authorities especially supervisory authorities.

FIAU is also sharing information with other countries as part of global efforts to tackle financial crime. The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit shared 1,549 so-called spontaneous reports in 2019, an increase compared with 749 in 2018 and 277 in 2017. Up until the end of February 2020, the FIAU has already shared 664 spontaneous reports with its counterparts.

Malta is committed to implementing in full the recommendations from international institutions such as Moneyval, the Venice Commission and others"

"Money laundering and the finance of terrorism are serious threats to Europe's - indeed the entire world's financial system and we all have a vital role to play in fighting this twin scourge,"  Malta's finance minister Edward Scicluna said. 

This follows a report where the Council of Europe's anti-money laundering body Moneyval called on the Maltese authorities to strengthen their practical application of their measures to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism.

"Malta is committed to implementing in full the recommendations from international institutions such as Moneyval, the Venice Commission and others," Scicluna added.

The regulator imposed €3.9m on subject persons in relation to breaches of their anti-money laundering and combatting financing of terrorism obligations, representing a 190% increase on the previous year and a 700-fold increase on 2017.

Credorax Bank was recently hit with a €51,000 fine by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit for failing to provide it with information in a timely manner.In a notification on the FIAU's website, the anti-money laundering unit said Credorax Bank had given delayed replies to 37 requests for information and outright failed to reply to two other requests.

The bank specialises in cross-border e-commerce and processed €4.1bn worth of payments in 2018.

The regulator is also boosting resources and aims to have 100 employees by June this year and around 153 by 2022, up from 34 in 2017. 

 

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