The Institute of Financial Services Practitioners (IFSP) said on Wednesday that it looks forward to working with the responsible authorities on remedial action in the wake of the Moneyval report on the anti-money-laundering regime in Malta.

Times of Malta reported on Monday that Malta’s anti-money laundering regime had failed a review by monitoring body Moneyval and had just over a year to address a series of shortcomings in its anti-money laundering efforts, or risk black-listing.

The IFSP said it welcomes steps to “raise the bar” and improve anti-money laundering enforcement as this is important for the reputation of the jurisdiction.

The institute explained that a consequence of the mutual evaluation process is that countries are placed either under regular follow up or enhanced follow up procedures. Malta may be placed by Moneyval on an “enhanced follow-up” status which involves a more intensive process of follow-up, and is intended for countries with significant deficiencies, or countries making insufficient progress. 

"The situation Malta finds itself in is not without precedent and was perhaps not unexpected, but it is important that this remedial period is used wisely. It is also imperative that enforcement action is undertaken and maintained by the relevant authorities in a manner that is effective, fair and proportional," the institute said. 

It said it looked forward to working with the authorities to ensure that remedial action is undertaken effectively, thoughtfully and in a timely manner to safeguard the integrity of the industry and Malta’s position as a credible and transparent financial services centre, particularly within the wider context of the increased risk driven by the sophistication of international criminal organisations laundering the proceeds of criminal activities through seemingly legitimate business ventures.

It appealed to financial services practitioners to ensure that the highest levels of scrutiny and vigilance for the timely pre-emption and detection of any suspicious business transactions, in line with all applicable legislation.

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