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  • Writer's pictureAndré Delicata

The land of money laundering

Criminals use money laundering techniques to make their illicit gains appear as though generated through legitimate means. In this way, they avoid having their crimes traced to them, can enjoy the proceeds of their crimes, and can “reinvest” the money in further crime.

Without money laundering, criminals and the corrupt cannot enjoy or make use of their illicit gains. Curtailing money laundering should be a priority in the fight against criminality. Curtailing money laundering decreases crime and corruption by default.

Money laundering (ML) is one of the most serious criminal offences. In Malta, it carries a maximum sentence of up to a €2,500,000 fine and 18 years’ imprisonment or both such fine and imprisonment.

Yet in Malta, convictions for money laundering are few and far between. It is no wonder that Malta is a den of iniquity, a haven for criminals and the corrupt. Moreover it takes 600 days for the Courts to reach a decision on a money-laundering case.

Even worse, money launderers are actively protected by the police and the attorney general.

In the book Pilatus: A Laundromat Bank in Europe penned by Robert Aquilina who is the president of anti-corruption NGO Repubblika, Aquilina published emails that show how police inspectors conspired to justify the decision by the Attorney General not to prosecute Pilatus Bank’s former risk manager Antoniella Gauci and operations supervisor Mehmet Tasli, despite a magisterial inquiry recommending money-laundering charges against them.

He also names the top officers involved, all of whom have since left the force without explanation.

So far, the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner have failed to react to Aquilina’s revelations.

With this level of impunity, crime and corruption can only continue to rise in Malta. Every case of money laundering has a victim or victims. In the case of corruption, it’s a whole nation which is a victim. When it’s a crime, it may be a single victim or a number of victims. But in truth, as long as the government continues to entertain money launderers with brazen, unfettered impunity, we are all victims.

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