The Malta Independent 19 August 2019, Monday

Malta’s inability to tackle money laundering cases shoots through the roof

Thursday, 2 May 2019, 13:04 Last update: about 5 months ago

Noel Grima

Malta is proving to be completely unable to tackle and judge money laundering cases. A graph included in the EU Justice Scoreboard issued last week shows that Malta's inability to tackle money laundering went from bad to worse between 2016 and 2017, spiking the Maltese average through the roof.

Whatever was said last week by the government that it is positive to note that, compared to previous years, more people believe that the Judiciary in Malta is independent - an absolute majority of 56% of the population believe that the Judiciary is independent, up from 45% last year - the real thrust of the Scoreboard where Malta is involved, is otherwise. 

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Malta has among the lowest incoming civil, commercial and other cases, then it moves to mid-stream where incoming civil and commercial litigious cases are considered.  Again it is almost at the bottom where incoming administrative cases are involved.

Where time is involved, Malta registers as the second jurisdiction where time for civil, commercial, administrative and other cases is consumed, beaten only by Cyprus. And it is second to Italy where litigious civil, commercial administrative and other cases are considered.

Malta is on the low side where the number of pending civil, commercial, administrative and other cases are considered.

As to the average length of judicial review where competition is involved, Malta is fourth highest and while its ranking for electronic communication shot up through the roof in 2016, this has now been brought to more manageable levels by the next year. It is still quite high.

Malta is lowest where EU trademark cases are involved.

As to money laundering this is what the Scoreboard says: In addition to contributing to the fight against crime, the effectiveness of the fight against money laundering is crucial for the soundness, integrity and stability of the financial sector, the confidence in the financial system and fair competition in the single market. As underlined by the International Monetary Fund, money laundering can discourage foreign investment, distort international capital flows and have negative consequences for a country's macroeconomic performance, resulting in welfare losses, draining resources from more productive economic activities.

The Anti-Money Laundering Directive requires Member States to maintain statistics on the effectiveness of their systems to combat money laundering or terrorist financing. In cooperation with Member States, an updated questionnaire collected data on the judicial phases of the national anti-money laundering regimes.

 Figure 19 shows the average length of first instance court cases dealing with money laundering criminal offences.


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