Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 23 June 2021

boat on body of water dnear concrete building
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Updated 1650

Malta has been grey-listed by that FATF with the US pushing for such a vote. The vote has been taken this afternoon.

The move, is likely to have a significant impact on Malta’s financial services and related activities.

Updated 1245

No new cases of coronavirus were reported on Wednesday. With one patient recovering, active cases now stand at 26. 1,692 negative swab tests were taken yesterday. Just over 296,000 have now been fully vaccinated.

Updated 1116

Food drives inflation up: In May 2021, the annual rate of inflation as measured by the RPI was 1.27%, up from the 0.87 % in April. 2021. The 12-month moving average rate for May stood at 0.48%, NSO data published today has shown. The largest upward impact on annual inflation was measured in the Food Index (+0.47%), while the largest downward impact was recorded in the Transport and communication Index (-0.27%).

Updated 0850 – Newspaper Review

Malta Today leads with vote on Malta’s anti-money laundering regime during the Financial Action Task Force plenary today. The final recommendation is reached by consensus and some influential members are pushing for grey-listing.

The Times says that the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance has held a telephone conversation with senior US officials ahead of the FATF vote today on Malta’s compliance with international anti-money laundering standards.

The Independent speaks with the chairman of the gaming network Enrico Bradamante who said that the sector would feel the reputational and operational effects if Malta were to be grey-listed by the FATF.

L-Orizzont reports that the Matsec examination board issued an apology for using text from a suicide note in a language translation exercise. The head of the Crisis Intervention Unit, Mark Xuereb, said the incident shows there is not enough awareness about the issue.

In-Nazzjon quotes PN Leader Bernard Grech who said the party wants to develop Malta into a main logistics hub in the region. He was visiting ground handling agency Aviaserve at the Malta International Airport.

The Independent reports on guidelines for government adverts issued by the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life. The document says that media messages should be relevant to the public interest and must not be used for personal or political publicity.

The Times reports that the police lifted around 40 rifles from the sea in an operation on Monday. The stockpile is believed to be linked to a weapon smuggling ring between Malta, Italy, and Libya.

In-Nazzjon says that the Tal-Maksar brothers have strongly denied that weapons found at Miġra l-Ferħa in a police operation are theirs. The lawyer representing Robert and Adrian Agius said that his clients have a right to a fair trial on murder charges.

Malta Today says that George and Alfred Degiorgio filed two cases after their request for a presidential pardon was turned down by the Cabinet. The brothers claim to have information implicating a sitting minister in criminal activity.

In-Nazzjon says that a lawyer representing President objected to one of the cases filed by the Degiorgio brothers involving HE Vella. He argues that the law does not permit such cases against the President of the Republic while performing their official duties.

L-Orizzont reports that the maritime enforcement unit within the transport authority carried out just short of 900 inspections at sea so far this year.

Morning Briefing

FATF vote expected today: Big day for Malta’s future as 37 jurisdictions and two regional organisations – the European Commission and the Gulf Co-operation Council, members of international anti-money laundering regulator, will vote on whether to place the island on the so-call grey-list, the club of untrustworthy financial jurisdictions.

It is understood that Government has lobbied till the very last minute those countries that have a vote today, and which appeared inclined to give thumbs down to Malta. These countries include the United States and the United Kingdom, with the former likely to have an important say on the final outcome due to its influence in the political arena. Grey-listing would have negative repercussions on investment and jobs in the country.
The vote is expected this afternoon.

MEIA postpones Thursday demonstration: A protest by the entertainment lobby planned for tomorrow has been temporarily suspended the association and authorities seek “to find the best possible solutions to make events safe as well as sustainable”. In a statement, the MEIA said that if discussions fail to address its concerns and the industry remains discriminated against and treated unjustly, it will announce another date for a demonstration in the coming days. “MEIA remains committed to ensure that our sectors open responsibly, sustainably and controlled for all”, it said.

Covid-19 Update: 5 new Covid-19 cases were reported. There was 1 new recovery as 1,649 swab tests were conducted. The number of active cases increased to 27.

New scheme to support transition to reusable packaging: Government has launched a new incentive offering €20,000 to businesses to support their efforts in transitioning to plastic-free and reusable packaging alternatives. “A lot of products from cheese to detergents come packaged in plastic, and through this scheme we want to support companies implement their own project to make their shop more sustainable,” Miriam Dalli, minister responsible for sustainability said during the launch. The grant will cover up to half of expenses incurred in moving away from single-use packaging to a more sustainable method of consumption.

CDE News