FIAU Announces Updates to PMLFTR

Issued on the advice of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (“FIAU”), Legal Notice 430 of 2018 (the “Notice”) has introduced a series of constructive amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations (“PMLFTR”).

New Competent Authorities

A foremost amendment is the introduction of the Asset Recovery Bureau and of the Commissioner of Voluntary Organisations to the list of authorities recognised as “competent authorities” within the PMLFTR.

In practice, this means that both entities have been formally endowed with the duty of acting as regulatory entities, in order to ensure that subject persons acting within their ambit maintain continuous and thorough compliance with all applicable anti-money laundering law.

Updated Gaming Definitions

The definitions of a “gaming licensee” and a “gaming service” set out within the PMLFTR have been revised, in order to reflect the partial coming into force of the Gaming Act (Chapter 583 of the Laws of Malta).

A gaming licensee is now defined as a person licences in terms of the relevant law to provide a gaming service. Furthermore, a gaming service now refers to the creation of a licensable game in the form of a game of chance which is available for participation by players.

Application of PMLFTR to Virtual Financial Assets Sector

The definitions of “relevant financial business” and “occasional transaction” now include the provision of services provided within the context of the Virtual Financial Assets (“VFA”) Act, with particular reference to the provision of VFA Agent services to applicants for a VFA Licence, the provision of VFA services to be carried out by VFA-licensed entities, and the issue of VFAs on offer to the public in or from within Malta.

Inclusion of Specific Reference to Customer Risk Assessment

The PMLFTR now includes a specific reference to activities relating to the customer risk assessment; whereby the definition of “risk management measures” now includes customer acceptance policies and customer risk assessment procedures.

This is a clearly weighted move intended to increase the emphasis of Maltese AML law on the risk-based approach being implemented in order to ensure proportionate and effective AML risk-management procedures in respect of all subject persons of varying size, scale, and activity.