Money-laundering in society brings about a stream of negative social and economic costs to the wider community. In this context, during this year’s AML Conference, the Malta Institute of Accountants (MIA) and the relevant authorities called on stakeholders to continue to strengthen their commitment to fighting financial crime, whilst highlighting Malta’s role within the international community in this respect. The event took place on Wednesday 18th January 2023 at the Radisson Hotel.
A strong turnout of accountancy and auditing professionals was testament to the increasing relevance of money-laundering for key stakeholders, particularly in the financial and corporate industry.
MIA’s President Mr. David Delicata highlighted how the actions and decisions of subject persons, including accountants and auditors, have reverberations throughout the wider continent. “As such, we have a significant role to play in ensuring our services are not used to carry out a criminal purpose.” He described accountants and auditors as frontliners, being in a position to detect red flags that might not be picked up by other service providers who interact with the same customers.
MIA’s CEO Ms. Maria Cauchi Delia highlighted how the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit’s (FIAU) new Implementing Procedures (IPs) targeted at accountancy and auditing professionals provide stronger certainty to the professional, given the specificity of the IPs and the fact that these address grey-areas and specific nuances emanating from the relevant legislative framework. She noted how the Institute and the FIAU as well as the Malta Business Registry (MBR), are working closely together, for the benefit of the wider industry participants.
A number of experts from various fields addressed the AML conference, including high-level representatives from the FIAU and the MBR, two entities which supported the event. Dr Geraldine Spiteri Lucas, the Registrar and CEO of the MBR provided updates on the development of a central due diligence repository and shared her reactions on a recent landmark judgement of the EU restricting access to the public to the Beneficial Ownership Register. Mr Alfred Zammit, Deputy Director of the FIAU, presented the Unit’s Strategy for the years ahead with a specific focus on collaboration with industry stakeholders.
A significant part of the Conference was devoted to the recently published FIAU’s sector specific Implementing Procedures, with discussions based on the reporting obligations emanating from the IPs with a focus on case-studies relating to tax, audit and accounting, as well as to obligations relating to ongoing monitoring and record-keeping. Data shows that accountancy professionals have become important contributors to the fight against money-laundering with an increasing number of suspicious transaction reports being submitted in recent years.
The various sessions provided an opportunity for participants to continue to reflect on how to improve the implementation of the necessary procedures for effective compliance with the AMLCFT’s regulatory framework. In the weeks ahead, the MIA in collaboration with the FIAU will be hosting a number of CPE training events delving into further detail in these Implementing Procedures Part II.