A dedicated FIAU team to apply the € 10,000 cash limit rule

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A dedicated team within the Maltese anti-money laundering unit, FIAU, is being set up to enforce a recently imposed limit of € 10,000 for cash transactions in large property. value.

This limit, introduced in March, applies to real estate, antiques, jewelry, vehicles and works of art.

During a press briefing on the unit’s work last year, FIAU officials confirmed that the new team will carry out on-site inspections to ensure the cash limit is being met.

Last year, a record 5,175 suspicious activity reports were filed with FIAU. FIAU, in turn, shared 4,535 intelligence reports with national and international agencies.

FIAU director Kenneth Farrugia said nine police chases were based on a FIAU report last year, up from zero in 2018.

A total of 70 reports and another 100 additional intelligence reports were sent to the police in 2020.

The unit’s workforce is expected to more than double in 2021 compared to the 70 FIAU employees in 2019.

FIAU said that over the past year, increased awareness of anti-money laundering and terrorist financing was seen during 206 supervision visits conducted by the unit.

A total of 4.6 million euros in fines were imposed by the FIAU in 2020.

Regarding the recent wave of money laundering prosecutions based on tax crimes, FIAU deputy director Alfred Zammit rebuffed criticism that the authorities were too authoritarian.

He said that not all cases of tax evasion are dealt with by the police, as a number of small cases are reported to the Inland Revenue to be dealt with administratively.

Zammit said one of the shortcomings reported about Malta by Moneyval was the lack of criminal prosecution related to tax crimes.

Moneyval had pointed out in its assessment of Malta how the authorities focused primarily on collecting taxes, rather than conducting criminal investigations into tax matters.

This, Moneyval had said, raised concerns about the adequacy of measures applied by competent authorities in light of the findings of the national risk assessment that tax evasion was one of the most serious threats in the world. country.

Malta timetables reported last week that Moneyval had given a favorable opinion on the recent round of reforms of the Maltese anti-money laundering regime.

However, Moneyval’s position is not the last step in the control process over Malta.

The decision whether or not to gray-list Malta will in fact be taken by another body, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Moneyvval’s global counterpart.

Malta started engaging with the FATF at the start of the year, and a team of assessors will interview senior officials from Malta’s regulatory and law enforcement agencies in May.

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