The Malta Independent 21 September 2019, Saturday

Delia harms credibility with ‘myopic view’ on government’s work to combat money laundering

Friday, 6 September 2019, 08:09 Last update: about 15 days ago

The Opposition Leader is harming his own credibility when he takes a myopic view on what the government is doing to combat money laundering, the Finance Ministry said.

In a recent intervention, PN leader Adrian Delia said Minister Edward Scicluna was “irresponsible” by being “dismissive” in comments he gave to The Telegraph.

The ministry rejected Delia’s “myopic view” on the subject, saying that Scicluna had also commented on what the government is doing to tackle the issue, which was also reported by The Telegraph.

This is a right of reply sent by the Finance Ministry with reference to this report.

Harming one’s credibility

At a recent meeting the Leader of Opposition was quoted as saying that he was surprised if not shocked to find the Minister for Finance Professor Edward Scicluna telling a senior Sunday Telegraph journalist that money laundering pervades countries world-wide. This gives the impression that this state of fact is known to all who follow the media except the Leader of the Opposition.

However the Leader of the Opposition goes further and says that in the absence of the Minister not telling the journalist what the government was doing to combat money laundering, this tantamounts to irresponsible behavior and harmful to the financial services industry.

The Leader of the Opposition as usual ignores the harm he is doing to his own credibility because he conveniently and maliciously ignores the rest of the interview, where the Minister for Finance gives a blow by blow account of the government strategy and plan in area of Anti-Money Laundering.

This ignored paragraph below is indicative of the myopic view taken by the Leader of the Opposition to a delicate and sensitive subject just to give himself a subject to talk about irrespective of its veracity or relevance and harm to the industry. Most of all he ignores the harm to his reputation and the party he leads.

This quote is from that same interview referred to by the Leader of the Opposition.

There is a three year plan to ensure that institutionally Malta is up to 5o scratch, including a restructuring of the Malta Services Authority. In order to address this issue, Minister Scicluna referred to the set up of a new Financial Organised Crime Agency (FOCA) which is being established in order to investigate and prosecute crimes related to money laundering and financial crime: “With advice from the UK Home Office, a new Financial Organised Crime Agency is being established to investigate and prosecute the most serious cases of money laundering and financial crime. Apart from setting up such Agency, the Minister added that there are even more harsher punishments applicable for tax evasion offences: “Criminal penalties for tax evasion are meanwhile being beefed up.”

Through the aforementioned initiatives, it is very evident that unlike what Nationalist leader Adrian Delia is trying to portray, the Government is doing its utmost to address anti-money laundering in order to safeguard Malta’s reputation, strengthen its regulatory institutions and the financial industry as a whole.

 

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