Malta is “redoubling its efforts” to get off the grey list of untrustworthy financial jurisdictions, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Wednesday.
Abela said that while the island now has a strong legal and regulatory framework, having implemented a number of reforms in recent months, it must now prove that these rules are being enforced by the authorities.
“We are redoubling national efforts to implement reforms, and will be boosting resources, to the courts, prosecutorial and law enforcement entities,” Abela said.
The government will be allocating €10 million to strengthen a number of national institutions, the digitalisation of the court system and introducing reforms to improve the Permanent Commission Against Corruption and the Asset Recovery Bureau, among others.
Abela also pledged increased focus at the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit when it comes to producing intelligence in line with the island’s main money laundering risks.
“This is indeed a high-level political commitment,” he said.
Malta was last month placed on the Financial Action Task Force’s so-called grey list of untrustworthy financial jurisdictions and has since signed a commitment to improve its law enforcement.
The prime minister was addressing a two-day financial services conference organised by Finance Malta about the impact of the greylisting on the island’s economy.
Finance Malta is a public-private initiative tasked with promoting the country as an international financial centre and attracting foreign direct investment to the island.
PN government would overturn grelisting in three months
On Tuesday the conference heard how Malta hopes to get off the grey list of untrustworthy financial jurisdictions within 18 months.
Alfred Camilleri, the permanent secretary at the Finance Ministry said that Malta had a “very ambitious” plan to get off the grey list.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Nationalist Party said that if elected it would manage to get Malta back on the white list in three months.
Meanwhile, Abela told Wednesday’s conference he is “heartened” by positive signals sent out by two of the four rating agencies that review the island, as well as the European Commission, which, he said, has already indicated its trust by upgrading Malta’s economic growth forecast.
Turning to the private sector, Abela urged financial services practitioners to help the government in its mission to get Malta back onto the FATF white list.
“We need to accept that the financial services sector will experience ever-increasing regulation. The state has a role to play here but the private sector is a gatekeeper too,” he said.
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