Malta last week presented the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) with an action plan to get off the regulator's grey list of jurisdictions, according to the Times of Malta in a report today (13 September).

The government presented the plan to the global watchdog during a virtual meeting on Thursday, it said.

"It's about concretely understanding what the risks are in the respective areas, a sort of risk analysis, having typologies that help in investigations, more coordination between institutions and, finally, delivering results," one high-level government source said.

The plan gives no timeline of how long Malta expects to take to implement the necessary changes. Government sources told Times of Malta they think the process could stretch into 2023.

In June, the FATF placed Malta on its grey list of countries that are not doing enough to stem the flow of illicit funds.

The action plan was drawn up by Malta National Coordination Committee, chaired by Alfred Camilleri, the permanent secretary at the finance ministry, and includes the heads of the island's main regulatory and law enforcement entities in the financial sector.

At the heart of the plan is an improved commitment to effectively fight tax crimes by using intelligence to catch tax cheats and better policing of ultimate beneficial ownership rules, Times of Malta added. 

Action plan's key points:

  • Showing that ownership information for companies based in Malta is accurate and that the authorities crack down decisively when information about company ownership is found to be inaccurate. Gatekeepers, including those in the private sector, that do not comply with their obligations to obtain accurate and up-to-date beneficial ownership must be sanctioned.
  • Enhancing the use of financial intelligence by the government's Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit to support the authorities pursuing criminal tax and related money laundering cases. This includes clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the Revenue Commissioner and the FIAU.
  • Focusing FIAU analysis on criminal tax offences to get it to produce intelligence that helps Maltese law enforcement detect and investigate cases in line with Malta's identified money laundering risks related to tax evasion.