Malta was voted off the Financial Action Task Force (‘FATF’) grey list, one year after first being labelled an untrustworthy financial jurisdiction by the global watchdog. 

The FATF vote is secret and a formal announcement of that decision will only be made at the end of its plenary, on Friday afternoon.  

However, Times of Malta has confirmed that Malta’s financial regime was given the all-clear in a high-level plenary vote at around 5pm in Berlin yesterday (Wednesday 15th June 2022). 

Being placed on the grey list meant that Malta was put under increased scrutiny by international assessors and bodies. 

The decision to take Malta off the list comes four months after the FATF publicly announced that initial indications showed that Malta had substantially completed the necessary reforms and appeared to have addressed the shortcomings identified. 

Malta had been told to implement a long list of changes to the way it combats tax evasion, collects information on ultimate beneficial ownership, and the way it shares information with local and international authorities.

Those issues were at the heart of a FATF action plan which Malta had to implement before being given a clean bill of health by the global anti-money laundering body. 

When was Malta greylisted?

Members of the global anti-money laundering watchdog first added Malta to its grey list in June 2021 after deciding the country was not doing enough to combat financial crime. 

At the time, Prime Minister Robert Abela said he thought the decision was “unjust” and promised to push ahead with planned reforms aimed at tackling financial wrongdoing.

The greylisting decision came following years of international criticism of Maltese policymaking, including its decision to sell Maltese citizenship and the lack of legal action against top government officials suspected of corruption.

Since then, the government has been scrambling to address technical shortcomings flagged by the FATF.

Full article: Malta removed from FATF grey list (timesofmalta.com)

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