Thursday 17 October 2019

Malta rapped for failing to act on money-laundering in online gambling


Malta is the European leader in online gaming (stock photo)
Malta is the European leader in online gaming (stock photo)

John O'Donnell

Malta has been criticised by an influential European monitoring body for inadequately tackling financial crime, in a report highlighting the risks of its large banking and online gambling sectors.

The report, which in the past has been closely watched internationally, including by US Treasury officials, is a setback for the island, which has sought to repair its reputation following the murder of a journalist investigating corruption.

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Moneyval, a pan-European group backed by more than 30 countries, said Maltese police seldom used information gathered to trace criminal money and not enough was being done to tackle money laundering risks in online gambling.

A group of Maltese government ministers said they were happy with the progress the country had made and would prepare a one-year plan to implement Moneyval's 58 recommendations. They said the country was "deeply committed" to tackling money laundering and terrorist financing.

Despite a population of only 420,000, Malta, a former British naval stronghold south of Sicily, has a financial sector dwarfing many EU countries. It is also the European leader in online gaming.

Moneyval said that although the country had tried to better understand money laundering risks, investigations were hampered by "limited resources, both human and financial".

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