Charles Cassar, Founder of anti-financial crime consultancy Shoulder Compliance, took to social media to call out “glaring inconsistencies” in the AML/CFT (anti-money laundering / combating the financing of terrorism) geographic risk assessment regime.
Mr Cassar made this statement in light of recent developments in Afghanistan, where earlier this week the Taliban rose to power.
“Let’s take a moment to contemplate the contradictions of the AML/CFT geographic risk assessment regime. Malta, a stable, democratic EU country is currently of the FATF grey list,” Mr Cassar wrote.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. In a bid to discourage countries from engaging in such activities, the FATF implements a set of international standards. When these are not met, countries are moved to the organisation’s ‘greylist’ or ‘blacklist’.
Last June, members of the FATF voted to grey list Malta, placing it alongside countries such as Uganda, Ghana, Panama, and Jamaica.
“Afghanistan, now under the control of fundamentalists with a history of sponsoring terrorism, is not [greylisted],” Mr Cassar noted.
As the Taliban took control of Kabul earlier this week, thousands of citizens attempted to flee the country out of fear that the organisation could reimpose rules restricting the liberties of women, ethnic minorities, journalists, and NGO workers.
“Granted that the FATF list is a ‘lagging indicator’ and other caveats – but still, geographic risk is a really broken part of the AML/CFT global framework,” Mr Cassar continued.
“I have never shied away from criticising Malta, there is much to criticise, but these glaring inconsistencies need to be called out,” he concluded.
In a bid to move out of the FATF’s greylist, Malta must address its shortcomings – all whilst being subjected to enhanced monitoring by the organisation.
Charles Cassar / LinkedIn
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