[WATCH] Robert Abela: FATF greylisting an opportunity for Malta

Prime Minister Robert Abela says a certificate of approval by the Financial Action Task Force on Malta’s anti-money laundering systems will make the country an even more attractive jurisdiction

Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister Robert Abela

Prime Minister Robert Abela has said that Malta’s greylisting by the Financial Action Task Force is an opportunity to carry out changes which will make Malta an even more attractive jurisdiction.

“The moment we have the certificate of approval on our anti-money laundering systems, it will make us an even more attractive jurisdiction,” Abela said while being interviewed on party radio station ONE Radio.

Abela’s reaction comes days after the FATF said it wanted a political will from Malta to bolster its otherwise technically compliant anti-money laundering framework.

“We as a government have shown that we will face challenges and overcome them as we did with the COVID-19 pandemic and the Moneyval assessment,” he said. “We will take this message seriously and show everyone that we are an EU member state that is committed to good governance and fighting financial crime and terrorism funding.” 

Abela said government has only a few number of shortcomings it must address, and will work hard to ensure that Malta is removed from the greylist.

“We must now implement three more points to increase our effectiveness. We must work seriously and professionally to convince others that our reforms aren’t only on paper but are effective too.”

The PM also called out individuals “hailing mainly from the Opposition” who rejoiced after the decision was made official, insisting this is an issue which does not need political partisanship.

He also said that government work and legislative changes in the sector have been recognised, highlighting his confidence in this administration’s ability to successfully get Malta off the FATF’s greylist.

He said that Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz expressed his approval on Malta’s plan to get whitelisted.

“The things he told me, and the things we plan to do in the coming days and weeks to address the FATF’s action points are completely in sync,” he said.


Speaking on the COVID-19 pandemic, Abela said that Malta’s economic recovery plan will be presented to parliament on Monday, ahead of its submission to the European Commission.

“It is true that the recovery plan took some time to be drafted, but there were some disagreements, which through the spirit of dialogue have been resolved,” he said.

Abela said the negotiations carried out during the last few months will translate into essential projects for Malta. “Economic recovery must also translate into the creation of more jobs.”

He also insisted that while people are becoming more optimistic, with the lifting of certain measures, they must remain cautious.

“We are slowly and carefully lifting restrictions to ensure that we do not register spikes in coronavirus cases, leading us to reintroduce the restrictive measures” Abela said. “As it has always been during this pandemic, you never know what’s around the corner.”

EU council meeting

Speaking on his EU council meeting with European leaders, the PM said that their reaction to Malta’s handling of the pandemic was a positive one.

He also said themes such as mass migration from the African continent were also discussed.

“We made our position clear that it is unfair for border countries to handle the migration crisis alone,” Abela said.

He stated solutions lie in helping Libya stem the inflow of migrants from its southern borders.

“We have to push for a Libyan land solution, where the country is led by its own people,” he said. “We have to look at Libya as business partners.”

The PM will be leading a business delegation to Libya on the 6 and 7 July.