Today, June 25, Malta was placed on the FATF’s list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring, better known as the ‘grey list’. It is the first time that an EU Member State has been placed on this list due to increased and persistent money laundering and terrorist financing risks. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog with more than 200 member countries and jurisdictions. The FATF has developed standards whose implementation in member countries is reviewed regularly. Malta was placed on the grey list today together with the Philippines, Haiti and South Sudan. This assessment was taken by the FATF June Plenary which was held this week. Next week the European Court of Auditors is expected to come out with a strong report on money laundering in the EU banking sector.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group comments:
“It is embarrassing that it needs a global watchdog to call out a European Member State for severe money laundering and terrorist financing risks. We have known about corruption and organised crime in Malta for years and yet the Commission has been reluctant to act. Not only has the Commission failed to fulfil its role as a guardian of the treaties, it also spoke out in defense of Malta at the FATF plenary. The Commission’s failure to act is irresponsible and must stop now. I call on the Commission to take the appropriate measures to shield the rest of Europe from the money laundering and terrorist financing risk posed by Malta immediately. European laws must be enforced as soon as breaches become known, not years after violations are out in the open. Creating new EU institutions must not be an excuse for a failure to act when existing EU law is not effectively implemented. The effective implementation of EU law must be the standard against which EU Member States are held. More EU countries have been blatantly ineffective in implementing EU and international money laundering laws including Cyprus, Germany and Bulgaria.
Malta is not the only European Member State with severe deficiencies in the implementation and enforcement of anti-money laundering rules and regulations. Of the 18 Member States assessed by the FATF by November 2020, not one attained a high level of effectiveness with regard to key anti-money laundering indicators. This must be a wake-up call for Europe. Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Austria, Czechia, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, Portugal and Hungary were all rated as displaying a moderate or low level of effectiveness when it comes to combating money-laundering. It is embarrassing that it needs the public shaming of a grey list before the European Commission hopefully takes action. I will do whatever I can to stop this negligence by the EU Commission and the European Banking Authority.”
Jurisdictions under increased monitoring list June 2021: https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/high-risk-and-other-monitored-jurisdictions/documents/increased-monitoring-june-2021.html
FATF 4th Round Rating, November 2020: https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/4th-Round-Ratings.pdf
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