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MALTATODAY 8 January 2023

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NEWS 16 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 8 JANUARY 2023 PAUL COCKS IN 2022, the Financial Intel- ligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) issued more than €3.1 million in fines to companies and indi- viduals found to be in breach of the Prevention of Money Laun- dering Act. Of those more than €2.75 million were fines issued to 30 companies or individuals. The remained were adminis- trative penalties issued for late or non-compliance with FIAU requests or directives. The FIAU is the national cen- tral agency in Malta that is re- sponsible for the collection, collation, processing, analysis and dissemination of informa- tion to combat money launder- ing and the funding of terror- ism. In most of the cases, the FI- AU found that the companies' business risk assessment was not comprehensive and did not provide the criteria used to identify specific scenarios. These companies often did not clarify the way that the BRA was implemented and how each risk factor and risk criteria within each factor was considered. Customer Risk Assessments (CRA) were also missing in many cases, or the companies had not provided any policies or procedures which explained the methodology and risk fac- tors that should be taken into consideration when carrying out the CRA. The compliance review of a number of companies identi- fied several instances where the obligation of customer due diligence was not adhered to. One company was fined be- cause in one file, it did not ob- tain and provide any documen- tation which could verify the identity and residential address of the player. In another file, the document obtained by the Company to verify the perma- nent residential address of the player did not bear an issue date and the document was not as a minimum a utility bill. An- other file was also in breach be- cause the document obtained by the company was unclear and illegible. In other cases, the FIAU found that the contents of pol- icy documents including those on Anti-Money Laundering/ Combating the Financing of Terrorism policies and proce- dures, the customer accept- ance policy and the BRA di- verged from each other. Administrative penalties im- posed by the FIAU following an assessment of late or non-sub- missions of the 2021 Risk Evaluation Questionnaires amounted to €93,600. Moreover, the FIAU issued a total of €15,520 in fines fol- lowing the failure of a number of subject persons to complete the Subject Person Profile within the stipulated deadline. In addition, the FIAU issued a total of 36,435 requests for information from January 2020 to June 2021. These were most- ly credit institutions, financial institutions, remote gaming companies and investment ser- vice providers. Failure to reply to requests for information or the late sub- mission of responses led to 171 'potential breaches letters' be- ing issued, with the majority of cases being remote gaming operators. Following the evaluation of all cases and corresponding rep- resentations, the Committee decided to impose an adminis- trative measure on 119 distinct subject persons. These consist- ed of pecuniary fines totalling €304,550 imposed on 67 sub- ject persons and written repri- mands imposed on 52 subject persons. Whenever the findings war- ranted, and in line with the FI- AU's policies and procedures, an amalgamation of admin- istrative measures including both a reprimand and a pecu- niary penalty were imposed on subject persons. €3.1 million in fines by FIAU throughout 2022

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