Marshall Billingslea the US assistant secretary for terrorism financing and financial crime gave an interview with The Sunday Times of Malta stating that Malta needs to send a “very strong signal” that corruption and financial crime will not be tolerated.
He also voiced concerns about Malta citizenship investment program, stating the concerns are due to unemployment being so low that “one wonders why revenue is needed through such an investment scheme”.
He also commented “The Treasury official added that citizenship-by-investment programs need careful scrutiny. He said one might even question why it is necessary for a country like Malta.”
Following the dismissal of an assessment by Moneyval (the anti-money laundering body of the Council of Europe), concerns continue to increase as to the government’s ability and willingness to tackle financial crimes.
The EU’s banking regulator has also commented on the issue stating it has “serious concerns” on the effectiveness of the Malta Financial Services Authority’s supervision of financial institutions in the country.
Billingslea informed The Sunday Times of Malta that there is an urgent need for collaboration for the structure and formations of corporate service provides who enable the formation of companies in Malta, emphasising that the way the companies are vetted need to be looked at.
Billingslea, the US official stated the US will support the action and creation of a financial crimes agency in Malta and that the UK will provide backing as well in an effort to fight financial crime in Malta.