Malta at "high risk" of being used for money laundering: study

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-07 04:13:09|Editor: yan
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VALLETTA, Nov. 6 (xinhua) -- Malta is at a "high risk" of being used for money laundering and at a "medium-high" risk of financing terrorism, according to a national risk assessment, local media reported on Tuesday.

The study, which had not yet been published by the government on security grounds, found Malta to be at a "high" risk of receiving foreign proceeds of crime and a "medium-high" risk of local crime in 2017, according to the report by Times of Malta.

The assessment said that funds generated from offences committed in neighbouring high-risk countries posed a high money-laundering threat to Malta.

Malta's banking sector, company service providers, lawyers and trustees as well as remote gaming were found to pose the highest risk of being used for money-laundering.

The assessment also claimed that revenue from the illicit market in Malta reached 1.4 percent of GDP, higher than the EU average of 0.9 percent, while tax evasion was estimated to be 5 percent of GDP.

Meanwhile, the country's overall terrorist financing threat was deemed to be "medium-high".

According to the study, the island's geographic location exposes the country to terrorist organisations in neighbouring states. It said an influx of refugees from neighbouring countries could be exploited by terrorist organisations, leading to the possibility of terrorist organisations infiltrating the EU.

The assessment found weaknesses in controls of cash movements at sea terminals and at the airport. Cross-border cash transactions and high levels of remittances were found to pose a threat due to the difficulty of monitoring this type of cash flow.

It said people intending to finance terrorism could take advantage of the lack of oversight of certain complex products and transactions.

The Maltese government has announced a national anti-money-laundering and terrorist-financing strategy and supporting action plan.

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