The European Commission is still waiting for the Maltese authorities to provide it with information on the latest anti-money laundering rules, which should have been transposed into national law on January 10.
According to sources in Brussels, the Commission services have yet to receive details from the Maltese authorities regarding the transposition of the directive.
But while the deadline to do so was over a week ago, the sources said there seems to be an understanding on the Commission’s part that there could be some delays in view of the political developments in the country over the past few months.
“The Commission hopes that this information will now be forthcoming shortly,” one source said.
Another source in Brussels explained that while there was enough time to get things in order in the run-up to the deadline, it was not only Malta that had yet to provide the information on the latest rules with other member states also expected to do the same.
When contacted, a spokesman said the Commission is “examining the measures notified by member states” but could not provide additional information.
“As of January 10, new improved rules apply in the EU which better aim at preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.
“These new rules, set out in the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, go a long way to enhancing transparency in the EU,” the spokesman said.
In 2017, the government’s failure to implement the previous anti-money laundering directive had led the Commission to trigger the first stage of infringement proceedings.
The fifth anti-money-laundering directive now:
• Enhances the powers of EU Financial Intelligence Units and facilitates their increasing transparency on who really owns companies and trusts by establishing beneficial ownership registers.
• Prevents risks associated with the use of virtual currencies for terrorist financing and limiting the use of pre-paid cards.
• Improves the safeguards for financial transactions to and from high-risk third countries.
• Enhances the access of Financial Intelligence Units to information, including centralised bank account registers.
• Ensures centralised national bank and payment account registers or central data retrieval systems in all member states.