The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (Cap. 373) (PMLA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations(S.L. 373. 01) (PMLFTR) are the main pieces of legislation in force in Malta to fight against money laundering and terrorism.

Recently, the Minister for Finance, acting on the advice of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), amended the PMLFTR (the principal regulations) by adopting the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism (Amendment) Regulations(L.N. 430 of 2018) (the amending regulations).

The amending regulations mostly update the definitions of some of the concepts contained in Regulation 2 of the principal regulations.

Thus, two additional bodies are listed in the definition of competent authorities:

  • the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations; and
  • the Asset Recovery Bureau.

The inclusion of the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations on the list of competent authorities widens the reach of the PMLFTR to voluntary organisations like trusts and foundations.

The PMLA, includes other competent authorities acting as supervisory authorities on PMLTF, such as the Malta Financial Services Authority and the Malta Gaming Authority, whereby the supervisory authorities mainly exchange information and documentation with the FIAU, whilst they place PMLFTR onerous requirements in their licensed entities.Thus supervisory authorities are granted by the PMLFTR extended monitoring,regulatory and disciplinary powers.

Other concepts are redefined, like gaming licensee, to adjust their scopes to newly adopted legislation or, like gaming service, to be more explicit and comprehensive.

Interestingly, the amending regulations add in the definition of occasional transactions those related to Virtual Financial Asset (VFA) services or to issues of virtual financial asset offers (IVFAO).

The concept of occasional transaction is also modified to include the activities of VFA agents as well as all activities, irrespective of their amount, relating to VFA services and IVFAOs as defined in the VFA Act passed earlier in July 2018 and now into force.

Relevant financial business is another concept whose definition is updated to include VFA services and IVFAO.

Other more technical amendments deal with, for instance, the obligations imposed on subject persons to carryout customer risk assessment procedures. This requirement was however already contained in Part 1 of the Implementing Procedures issued, by the FIAU.