Malta miffed over leaked confidential money laundering report

The Finance Ministry says it is committed to implement anti-money laundering recommendations by Moneyval but ‘very disappointed’ how confidential report was leaked

The Finance Ministry says the Moneyval report is still subject to a post-adoption process before it is made public
The Finance Ministry says the Moneyval report is still subject to a post-adoption process before it is made public

Malta has failed an analysis of its anti-money laundering regime by Moneyval but the as yet confidential report sees the government with its knickers in a twist.

The information from the report that was adopted in a closed plenary session of the Council of Europe last week, was leaked to the Times of Malta.

Malta is understood to have failed in key areas of its fight against money laundering after the international organisation Moneyval carried out a deep analysis of all the country’s systems and institutions.

But in a statement on Monday afternoon, the Maltese Finance Ministry insisted the confidential report is still subject to a post-adoption process in accordance with the Moneyval rules of procedure.

The ministry said Malta is committed to preventing, detecting, and prosecuting money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

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“Malta will be taking on board and implementing the recommendations made by Moneyval in the mutual evaluation report following the assessment of Malta’s anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) system as at November 2018,” the ministry said.

However, it did not mince its words of disappointment at the leaked information. The Moneyval report is expected to be published by the organisation in September after the post-adoption process is complete.

“The Maltese authorities are obliged to respect the confidentiality of the report and cannot publish or comment on the contents of the report before its official publication by Moneyval… It is therefore very disappointing that this 5th round mutual evaluation exercise has been undermined by the irresponsible leaking and publication of highly confidential information, first from an early draft of the report, which has since been subject to significant changes, and now from the adopted report which is still subject to the evaluation procedures,” the ministry said.

It added that the leaks led to “undue external pressures” on the evaluation process and were intended to embarrass the Maltese authorities with the Council of Europe.