Malta’s Financial Intelligence and Analysis Unit reports that the number of requests for disclosures made to the organisation in 2018, had grown by 116% on last year.
FIAU says that this reflected an increase of 1,679 filed Suspicious Transaction Reports with the authority. Ultimately, this led to them carry out 1,556 cases, 122% more than 2017 and 199% on 2016.
Accumulated with 58 further cases and information supplied by other bodies like equivalent FIUs, this brought the official number of new cases to 1,614. This reflected 107% greater than 2017.
According to FIAU, the vast majority of these STRs were submitted about Subject Persons, closely followed by Cases analysed following STR submission and information supplied by other FIUs.
These are figures referring to disclosures and STRs are part of the FIAU’s Annual Report for 2018. The document brings together their work and procedures during the previous year.
Credit Institutions submit most STRs
According to the report, Credit Institutions were the sector which submitted the most STRs to FIAU, accounting for an 82% increase on 2017.
They state that 724 applications were filed altogether, with the majority (573) filed by six core domestic banks. This reflected a 67% increase on 2017. The remaining 119 are understood to have been filed over institutions defined as ‘international banks,’ reflecting a 240% increase on the previous year.
Second to Credit Institutions were submissions from the Remote Gaming Industry. They state that this accounted for a 221% increase on 2017 and referred largely to foreign nationals understood to have ‘limited connections to Malta.’
For 2018, FIAU states that with both combined, this accounted for 84% of all the STR’s made to the authority.
While there were major increases in STRs submitted by credit institutions and the gaming industry, there was were also reported declines in the number of applications made by ‘Money Remitters’ and ‘Insurance Licensees’. This reflected a 36% and 58% decrease in cases.
Disclosures by casinos increase 500%
While there were huge increases in STRs, FIAU also outlines an equally major increase in the number of disclosures made to the authority by casino licensees.
They state that there were 24 disclosures made to the FIAU this year, which resulted in an increase of 500% on 2017. They add that these ‘predicate offences’ referred to crimes involving fraud, organised crime, corruption or drug trafficking.
For the most part, these disclosures were motivated by suspicious transactions which were not consistent with the subject person or their profile.
International FIAU requests nearly double in 2018
In the last three years, the number of incoming and out-going FIAU requests with its foreign FIU counterparts, has increased by almost double.
Of the requests made to its 16 partners, this has grown from 179 cases in 2015 to 506 in 2018. Of these, 76% were made to European nations like the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany Switzerland and France. A further 10% were made to the Americas and 9% to Asia.
Equally, the number of applications received from partners has also grown from 125 in 2015 to 251 in 2018. These requests are understood to have come from 53 countries, reflecting a 36% in 2017 and 90% in 2016.
FIAU adds that over 90% of these 2018 cases came from 40 European countries including the United Kingdom. Asian and Americas requests accounted for 4% and 3% respectively.
The authority also adds that FIAU was able to answer the majority of the 251 requests were processed and completed by the end of 2018 (242).
They add that 71% were dealt with within a week, while the remaining 26% were completed within a month of receiving them.