Malta has made "significant progress" in fighting money laundering and terrorism financing with a corresponding upgrade in its rating status across key areas, according to the Council of Europe's anti-money laundering body Moneyval in a report published today (27 May).

The island no longer has "non-compliant" or "partially compliant" ratings, and specifically re-rated from "partially compliant" to "largely compliant" and "compliant" for nine FATF (Financial Action Task Force) recommendations.

Malta went into special measures having to report to Moneyval following its investigation in 2019 under the enhanced follow-up procedure.

Deficiencies with technical compliance were identified with respect to application of some of the preventative measures, transparency of legal entities, supervision and international co-operation.

Positive steps by the Maltese authorities to address deficiencies resulted in Moneyval assigning higher international compliance ratings across a range of legislative, regulatory and institutional measures.

The follow-up report also covered implementation of new international requirements for virtual assets, which cover among others the most prominent virtual currencies and the providers of these assets.

The EU body also highlighted that Malta was among the first Moneyval countries to implement the regulatory and institutional framework and conduct assessment of ML/TF (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) risks in this area.

Malta's rating on the implementation of this recommendation was upgraded from "partially compliant" to "largely compliant".

As a result, Malta succeeded in meeting general expectation for countries to have addressed most if not all of the technical compliance deficiencies after the adoption of the mutual evaluation report, within two years, Moneyval said.

Malta achieved full compliance with twelve of the 40 FATF Recommendations constituting the international AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism) standard.

But the island also retains minor deficiencies in the implementation of another 28 Recommendations where it has been found "largely compliant".

The follow-up report studied the legislative, regulatory and institutional reforms, and did not assess the degree to which the implemented reforms have been effectively implemented.

Moneyval decided that Malta will remain in enhanced follow-up and will report back to Moneyval on further progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures in two years.