Malta officially removed from FATF greylist after 'significant progress' to address deficiencies

FATF congratulates Malta and says it is now in a better position to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing

The FATF plenary held in Berlin voted to remove Malta off the greylist (Photo: FATF)
The FATF plenary held in Berlin voted to remove Malta off the greylist (Photo: FATF)

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has officially confirmed that Malta has been taken off the greylist.

The official decision was announced by FATF President Marcus Pleyer in a press conference at the end of the June session in Berlin.

The FATF congratulated Malta for the "significant progress" it has made in addressing the strategic anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing deficiencies, previously identified by the FATF and included in its action plan.

"Malta will no longer be subject to the FATF’s increased monitoring process. This comes after the country received an on-site visit. Malta will work with FATF regional partner MONEYVAL, of which it is a member, to continue strengthening its AML/CFT regime," Pleyer said.

The official decision came two days after a secret vote during the plenary on Wednesday.

In 2021, Malta was placed on the greylist after the FATF found deficiencies in the fight against tax evasion and the way ultimate beneficiary owners are listed.

"After serious deficiencies were identified, Malta is now better placed to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing. It does not mean that there isn’t more work to do […] Malta should take advantage of this momentum and should continue improving," Pleyer said.

He explained that since the greylisting Malta has taken dozens of enforcement actions against gatekeepers, compared to the "zero" fines it had handed prior to that.

Pleyer said that the majority of the breaches were related to the beneficial ownership of foreign owned companies. He added that Malta had doubled the resources of its business registry and conducted a thorough risk assessment. 

Malta was placed under increased scrutiny by international assessors and bodies as a result of greylisting, causing problems for operators in the financial services sector.

Four months ago the FATF publicly announced that initial indications showed that Malta had substantially completed the necessary reforms and appeared to have addressed the shortcomings identified. 

Malta had to implement a long list of changes on how to fight tax evasion, collect information on ultimate beneficial ownership, and how this information is shared between Maltese and international authorities.