MEP Alfred Sant has criticised the European Commission over what he calls ‘disproportionate treatment’ of Malta over money laundering allegations.
Dr Sant pressed the European Commissioner Vera Jourova to explain why the EC’s anti-money laundering regulations have been enforced more tightly on Malta than on Latvia.
With Malta, he stated that the EC had conducted a series of investigations, a two-year preliminary enquiry, along with the increased involvement of the FIAU. With this came a series of measures and inspections that the authorities would need to carry out.
Going further, he also raised points about how the Commissioner portrayed Malta as a key country of concern and one with weak institutions unable to take action against money laundering, especially with the Pilatus Bank.
However, with Latvia and the scandal surrounding the ABLV bank, the EC had carried out monitoring activities and notified the anti-money laundering authorities there. This has also included the request for an investigation into a breach of Union law.
This runs in tandem with the knowledge that the ABLV bank ‘has been implicated in money laundering, bribing officials and facilitating breaking of sanctions against North Korea. The United States Treasury’s Financial Crimes Unit has accused ABLV of making money laundering a pillar of the bank’s business practices for a number of years and that the Latvian bank was involved in the theft of 1 billion US$ in assets from fraudulent Moldovan banks. Representing the third largest bank in Latvia, it was recently liquidated following assertions of institutionalised money laundering.’, he explained.