“We are showing the world that Malta is very serious about addressing issues related to money-laundering and financial crime. It is the duty of financial practitioners to come forward with any suspicious activities.” Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna made this statement whilst addressing the Second Financial Integrity Forum to financial practitioners within the Malta Financial Services Authority.
Minister Scicluna added that through such training, cooperation between regulators and financial practitioners is needed. The Minister for Finance said that the National Risk Assessment shows that some sectors are riskier than others. Therefore, practitioners and professionals working in the field have to be aware of those risks by devoting more attention to suspicious transactions and are duty-bound to report them accordingly to the relevant authorities.
“The recent European money-laundering scandals have dealt another blow to the reputation of Europe’s financial architecture. From Denmark to Estonia to Germany to Latvia to the UK all had their fair share of cases. These challenges should be addressed through a cross-border collaboration and we are committed to dedicate more resources to strengthen further our institutions, regulators and enforcement agencies. Thus, a financial crime agency will be set up to intensify enforcement in this area and prosecute financial criminals”, said Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri.
Parliamentary Secretary Schembri said that weeks after taking political responsibility of the MFSA, he presented to a bill to parliament to relinquish the power to decide on the MFSA’s budget and now it is the MFSA’s Board of Governors who decide on the required budget; another change is that the MFSA today is the sole decider on when, how, and whom to recruit.
The changes the financial sector is encountering have to be addressed holistically, a change in mentality is key, in particular within institutions we often look up such as banks. “Being a small state as we are, this could be challenging but we are fully committed and determined to surpass it,” said Parliamentary Secretary Schembri.