‘Malta failing to apply European anti-money laundering law’ – Repubblika

A formal complaint has been submitted to the European Commission from Repubblika, saying that Malta’s three branches are failing to apply anti-money laundering laws in the face of allegations against key Maltese officials.

The Maltese rule of law NGO says that since the Panama Papers uncovered the names of key politicians connected with corruption, Malta’s institutions responsible for holding them accountable have refused to act.

They speculate that this could be connected to procedural weaknesses and controls within the institutions, where the executive has not properly equipped law enforcement organisations to support the work of the judiciary. The legal weakness and agency of the judicial branch are then proposed to stem from the legislative branch’s failing to ‘provide the judiciary with adequate laws to implement European money laundering law’.

Repubblika outlines a timeline of events starting from 2016 with the discovery of Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi being named by murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, connected to Panama companies, all the way to the present day. Repubblika states that in the three years since, no investigation or implementation of the EU’s anti-money laundering legislation through Malta’s institutions has been carried out.

Repubblika states that they intend to take action to ensure that the laws are properly implemented through their complaint to the European Commission.

The legal basis in EU law for Repubblika’s complaint is the following:

  1. Breach of the provisions of Directive 2005/60/EC (AML3) as succeeded by Directive 2015/849 (AML4) including but not limited to Article 58(2) and (4) thereof;
  2. Breach of Article 2, Article 4(3) and Article 19(1) TEU in conjunction with Article 47 of the EU Fundamental Rights Charter;
  3. Breach of the principle of effectiveness.

They state that if an investigation follows their complaint and Malta is found in breach of these implementations, the country could face sanctions.

‘These laws protect Maltese citizens. All Maltese citizens need their institutions to treat everyone equally. We are not here “speaking against Malta”. We are defending Malta from a thuggish brood that is breaking its laws (because European law is Malta’s law) to get away with crime at the expense of the rest of us.’, Repubblika states.

The NGO also states that concurrent to this complaint, the organisation will also be carrying out a petition to get the support of Maltese citizens to ‘Appeal to the European institutions on an individual basis’.

‘The more of us that raise their voice in protest against this delinquency, the better chance we have of ensuring that European laws written to protect us are enforced.’