MALTA – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) should take “urgent action” against money-laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT), according the Times of Malta on Feb. 28.
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“A multi-prong approach is needed to address anti-money laundering AML/CFT deficiencies. Enhancing the AML/CFT system is required to protect the financial sector and the broader economy from the ML/TF [money laundering/terrorism financing] threats.”
The IMF report went on to state that more screening measures need to be in place for monitoring risk-sesative accounts, including new technologies like cryptocurrencies and e-gaming.
“The challenges facing the MFSA [Malta Financial Services Authority] from the increased demands of supervising the growing number of licensed financial institutions in an evolving and more complex regulatory environment, as well as the need to upgrade the MFSA’s operational capacity to enable it to operate more effectively,” the IMF notes.
Recently, Malta has become known for their pro-blockchain stance and even earned the nickname the ‘Blockchain Island’ after major industry players began setting up their base of operations there, including Binance and OKEx.
In January, the IMF stated they had concerns regarding possible anti-money laundering compliance violations, specifically citing blockchain, online gaming, and the government’s citizenship-by-investment scheme.
“The increasing number of financial entities under supervision, the rapid development of new products, the evolving regulatory environment and the tightening of the labor market have put the Malta Financial Services Authority under considerable strain.”