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  • Writer's pictureAndré Delicata

Tolerating money-laundering

There's a reason why money-laundering carries such a heavy penalty - a fine (multa) not exceeding EUR 2,500,000, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 18 years, or both.

It’s also a criminal offence to help someone launder money; if you deal with any assets that you know, or have reason to suspect are derived directly or indirectly from the proceeds of criminal activity, then you can be convicted for ML.

There's also a reason why money-laundering is not taken seriously in Malta, to the point where we ended up in the FATF grey-list, and are heading back in that direction. It benefits those that are protected by the relevant authorities.

In most crimes there is illicit financial gain. The criminal must make the illegally acquired money appear to have been acquired legally, otherwise he or she cannot enjoy them or re-invest them in further crime. And risks the money being traced back to him and her, exposing his or her crime.

"There's a reason why people commit crimes. Most of the time, it's money. And when it's a big crime, it's usually big money.
But for criminals to enjoy money they have acquired illicitly, it must be made to appear as though it was generated through legitimate means. Otherwise, the crimes committed can be traced back to them from the 'money trail.'
Criminality depends and thrives upon money laundering. Where money laundering is rife, crime flourishes."

Therefore stemming money-laundering would be dealing criminals and crime a very heavy blow.

Money-launderers are those who launder the money for corrupt politicians, police, judges, government executives and criminals of all sorts. Not stemming money-laundering is giving criminality licence.

"Criminality thrives on money laundering, and where this is rife, organised crime flourishes. Corruption, bribery of government officials for personal gain, usury, running of prostitution rings, drug trafficking, human trafficking, fraud, child pornography, sales of weapons, blackmail – any crime that yields financial proceeds, essentially most crime increases as a result."

It's worth pointing out that there is no victimless crime. For example, if it's corruption, the likelihood is that you and I, the taxpayer are the victims.

Now, is it surprising that in Malta money-laundering is tolerated, to the extent that the country has become a haven for money-launderers?



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