28 Jun 2019
Maltese Finance Minister Edward Scicluna on Thursday disclosed plans to create a new governmental agency tasked with increasing money laundering prosecutions in the country, The Times of Malta reported.
Although the structure of the proposed investigatory body has yet to be determined, officials hope to launch an agency capable of dismantling complex financial schemes and boosting what Scicluna describes as a “key metric” in evaluating the effectiveness of anti-money laundering efforts: criminal convictions.
Prosecutors in Malta will also place a greater emphasis on including money laundering charges in tax evasion cases as part of an effort to deter tax cheats from moving their money into the jurisdiction, according to the newspaper.
In a statement published online, Scicluna praised the efforts of Maltese law enforcement officials investigating money laundering in the country but said that they could not do it alone.
Malta’s growth as a financial center has increased risk of criminal activity in the jurisdiction, he said on Thursday.
Asked by The Times why the number of successful prosecutions of financial crimes has remained low, Scicluna said that the answer remains unclear.
“That is our question. How is it that the amount of convictions do not correlate with Malta’s economic profile?” he told the news outlet. “This is why you need to test and find out why.”
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