A centre to help combat money laundering in small states is being planned for Malta, according to a new deal signed on Monday.  

Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo this morning signed a memorandum of understanding between the government and the Institute for Islands and Small States, for joint cooperation on a number of projects. 

The institute forms part of the University of Malta’s academic campus and was set up some 30 years ago by economist Lino Briguglio. 

Bartolo told Times of Malta that the agreement would see the institute offer consultancy services to the ministry, the funding of scholarships for students from small states. 

Of particular relevance to Malta, Bartolo said the institute would be lobbying international organisations such as the World Bank for funding to help set up a centre in Malta towards combatting money laundering in small states.  

This, Bartolo said, was a problem facing a number of small states and needed a coherent approach to help overcome it.  

Grey-listing risk

Malta has failed a preliminary assessment of its anti-money laundering enforcement by a panel of Council of Europe experts. A final score will be given next year by the Financial Action Task Force, with Malta facing potential grey listing as a financial jurisdiction.  

Speaking during the signing, University Rector Alfred Vella said that hardly any academic work on small island states was carried out today that does not cite the work of this institute. 

Vella said the institute was both a research centre, but also played a role when it came to organising summits and other international gatherings in Malta in recent years.  

Bartolo said he had always been interested in the realities of small island states. 

A small island, he said can have all the rituals of state, but still be treated as little more than a colony by larger states, he said.  

“This is something I have experienced to be true myself,” he said.

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