The U.S. Embassy partnered with the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) to host the second iteration of the Financial Integrity Forum. The Forum brought together major financial institutions, private sector leaders, and key government financial regulators to discuss public-private information sharing.
Sharing financial intelligence enables financial institutions, supervisory authorities, and law enforcement agencies to make better use of available resources and helps define business models that aid the fight against financial crime, money laundering, and terrorist financing. This will improve the regulatory environment and allow businesses to operate more effectively.
Guest speakers from the public and private sectors shared their experiences and best practices using public-private partnerships to fight financial crime. FBI Special Agent Robert Hanratty shared investigative techniques used in money laundering cases with a focus on a case prosecuted by the FBI Office of Organized Crime that demonstrated how public-private information sharing led to a successful conclusion.
MFSA CEO Joseph Cuschieri, who delivered the welcome address, remarked: “As a regulator, we are committed to raising the bar in AML/CFT supervisory standards. Besides posing a critical challenge to the integrity of our financial system and denting public confidence, financial crime also threatens a nation’s reputation, its economy, and national security. Given these implications, we strongly believe in the significance of international co-operation and intend to continue building further such collaborations.”
U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Mark A. Schapiro highlighted the importance of working together to combat serious financial crimes that undermine regional security, saying, “We will continue to strengthen our collaboration with Malta on countering transnational financial threats and to confront economic crime, money laundering, and terrorism finance that threaten to jeopardize our common values and shared vision.”
Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri noted that “Money laundering challenges should be addressed through a cross border collaboration and we are committed to dedicate more resources to further strengthen our institutions, regulators and enforcement agencies. Thus, a financial crime agency will be set up to intensify enforcement in this area and prosecute financial criminals.”
Finance Minister Edward Scicluna in his closing remarks noted, “The National Risk Assessment shows that some sectors are riskier than others. Therefore, practitioners and professionals working in the field must be aware of those risks by devoting more attention to suspicious transactions and are duty bound to report them accordingly to the relevant authorities.”