FATF to vote on Malta grey-listing / Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 16 June 2021

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Updated 1230

Covid-19 Update

Three new cases of coronavirus were reported on Wednesday, while nine patients recovered. Active cases continued to decrease, and now stand at 45. 1,798 swab tests were carried out yesterday. 604,033 doses of the anti-Covid jab were administered so far. 270,745 persons are fully vaccinated.

FATF to vote on Malta grey-listing: Malta seems to have not yet avoided the wrath of the Financial Action Task Force this year. Despite a positive Moneyval assessment, the Times of Malta revealed today that international experts gave the island mixed reviews on Tuesday. As a result, a final vote on whether or not Malta should be put on the money laundering offenders’ list will be taken next week. The financial services industry has repeatedly reaffirmed that the grey-listing of the Maltese jurisdiction could have severe repercussions on the wider industry.

The FATF, the leading global anti-money laundering watchdog, will now hold a plenary, made up of delegates from over 200 jurisdictions, to take a final vote on Malta’s future. If Malta is grey-listed, it would become the first EU member state to be placed on the list.

Low Carbon Development Strategy launched for public consultation: Malta’s first 30-year strategy leading towards a carbon neutral economy has been launched for public consultation. The strategy prioritises the most cost-effective measures to reduce emissions across the sectors involving energy, buildings, transport, industry, waste, agriculture, and water. The strategy’s main long-term goal is to identify pathways towards carbon neutrality by 2050 and identify measures to, at the same time, adapt to climate change whilst reaching Malta’s national 2030 climate target emanating from EU legislation. Malta will have to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 19% by 2030 compared to 2005. Transportation is one of the main sectors which causes high levels of emissions.

Updated 0845: Newspaper Review

The Times says that the police are receiving an average of 20 new reports every day about a scheme by international scammers posing as parcel delivery companies. Victims of the malicious messages are being defrauded anywhere between €800 and €1,800.

The Independent quotes a spokesperson for Virtù Ferries who said that the company has identified and the cause of excessive exhaust emissions from the Malta-Sicily catamaran and repaired the system failure.

In-Nazzjon covers a visit by PN Leader Bernard Grech to the crafts village in Ta’ Qali on Monday. He said that local companies deserve a better taxation system that supports investment and growth.

L-Orizzont says that over 1,600 speeding fines have been issued in the three weeks since new speed cameras were installed in the Coast Road. The highest recorded speed was 105 km/h, exceeding the maximum limit by 35 km/h.

In-Nazzjon says that the association representing artists and the entertainment sector is calling a protest next week to voice disagreement with restrictions on events. Representatives said that event organisers are still in the dark about their futures.

The Independent says that the Low Carbon Development Strategy unveiled by the government on Monday aims to incentivise the electrification of mobility and resource-efficient buildings in the next 30 years.

L-Orizzont reports on a consultation process on a government strategy towards a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. Launching the document, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia said that the vision encompasses different sectors from industry to water management.

The Times quotes Caroline Tissot from the Language Schools federation who said that the industry is struggling to find enough teachers to satisfy a surge in demand. More than 11,000 students have booked courses until September.

In-Nazzjon quotes Finance Minister Clyde Caruana who said that refunds proposed by the opposition for overpriced utility bills would not be sustainable at a time when the economy is struggling with the effects of the pandemic.

Morning Briefing

Half a billion of undeclared taxes in a decade: Some half a billion euro worth of taxes have gone undeclared over the past decade. This figure has increased steadily during this timeframe: 13,358 failed to submit their full tax returns, a figure which more than doubled by 2019, when 27,596 people are thought to have undeclared taxes by some €105 million. According to data submitted in Parliament by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana, over the 10-year period, €532.9 million in tax went undeclared. Caruana pointed at the rise of foreign workers, who might not be aware of their reporting obligations, or who leave the island after a shorter timeframe, was to blame for the increase.

Malta updates amber list: The Superintendent of Public Health has updated the list of countries on the amber list has been updated. Maltese citizens and/or Maltese residents need to show a vaccine certificate recognised by the Maltese authorities or negative PCR COVID-19 test performed no longer than seventy-two (72) hours prior to arrival. This updated Orange List includes 40 US States, and European countries such as Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom. The full list is available here.

Fenech lawyers want access to Caruana Galizia laptop: Lawyers of Yorgen Fenech, who stands accused in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, have requested as evidence laptops and hard drives used by the journalist at the time she was murdered. The request was filed by Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers who claim that the two laptops and three hard drives were highly important not only to prove his innocence but also to test the version supplied by Melvin Theuma.

Covid-19 Update: For the third time in the past ten days, no new Covid cases were reported. Health authorities said 1,526 swab tests were conducted over the past 24 hours. With three more persons recovering, the number of active cases has gone down to 51.