FIAU flagged 61 cases of suspected money laundering to the police

Suspicious transaction reports to the Financial Intelligence Unit up by 65% in 2019

The Financial Intelligence Unit forwarded 61 cases of money laundering to the police for further investigation in 2019.

The FIAU’s annual report showed the agency received a total of 2,778 suspicious transaction reports in 2019, up by 65% from the previous years.

Suspicious transaction reports (STR) are received by the anti-money laundering agency from banks, legal professionals, gaming companies, casinos, or real estate agencies, when large amounts of money and their source cannot be accounted for.

The report stated the majority (52%) of STR submissions stemmed from the remote gaming sector, a position traditionally held by credit institutions, which accounted for 34.6% of reports.

Credit institutions also registered an increase in 2019, with an increase of 33%, from 724 STRs in 2018 to 962 STRs in 2019.

Despite the increase in STRs, the FIAU did point out that some sectors are still falling short of the desired quality, but did point out that over the years the quality of STRs improved substantially.

The report showed that the most prevalent suspected predicate offence continues to be fraud, with 596 instances reported.

This was followed by tax crimes, suspected terrorism (including terrorist financing), participation in organised criminal groups and racketeering, forgery, and corruption and bribery, which together made up 47% of all predicate offences reported in STR submissions.

The report also showed that 75% of the natural and legal persons reported were non-Maltese nationals or foreign registered companies.

“These international elements mainly featured in the submissions received from the top two reporting sectors. In the case of the remote gaming industry, an overwhelming 98% of the reported subjects were foreign nationals,” the report said.

A total of 1,398 cases, equating to 39% of the total cases received were concluded by the FIAU, with 61 cases disseminated to the police for further investigation. A total of 2,187 cases remain ongoing.

The cases were forwarded to the police due to reasonable suspicion.

Additionally, 41 spontaneous intelligence reports were disseminated to the police, following a determination by the Unit that the intelligence revealed during the course of an analysis would be of relevance to the police.

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