Malta FIAU processes 5,175 reports of suspicious transactions in 2020

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During the year, a record number of 5,175 suspicious reports were filed by subject persons, and the Unit shared 4,535 intelligence reports with national, international competent authorities and counterpart FIUs. These figures emerged in the FIAU’s annual report published today. The number of suspicious reports reflects a threefold increase since 2018, when the number stood at 1,679.

The entity, which is responsible for Malta’s money laundering efforts, said that despite the challenges of having to move supervision to off-site and virtual meetings due to the Covid-19 restrictions, supervision continued uninterrupted. During the year, the FIAU carried out 206 supervisory examinations, including in conjunction with the MFSA and the MGA. Generally, a greater level of awareness of AML/CFT requirements and improvements in compliance have been observed.

The agency imposed over €4.6 million in administrative penalties as it stepped up enforcement and supervision throughout the year. Following information provided by the FIAU, the Police prosecuted nine persons on charges of money laundering and tax evasion.

During 2020 the FIAU continued to reaffirm its commitment to implement all the recommendations made to it following reviews and assessments by the European Banking Authority, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and MONEYVAL. The FIAU worked tirelessly to address those issues and areas identified as requiring improvement. This is because the FIAU is determined to perform its functions to the highest international standards.

The FIAU sought to engage with subject persons when enforcement action was necessary, with the aim of assisting them to take remedial action to strengthen their AML/CFT compliance. A number of remediation directives were issued, however there were also occasions when the FIAU decided that the imposition of a fine for breaches of AML/CFT requirements was warranted.

In line with recommendations made by the European Banking Authority, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and MONEYVAL the year was also characterised by the continued growth in human resources, with staff complement increasing from 70 as at the end of 2019 to 98 by the end of 2020; and is projected to reach 157 by the end of 2021.

During 2020 the FIAU continued to reaffirm its commitment to implement all the recommendations made to it following reviews and assessments by the European Banking Authority, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and MONEYVAL. The FIAU worked tirelessly to address those issues and areas identified as requiring improvement. This is because the FIAU is determined to perform its functions to the highest international standards.