On the 15th September 2020, the FIAU issued a revised version of Part I of the Implementing Procedures. The amendments primarily concern one of the main issues highlighted in Malta’s Mutual Evaluation Report namely that the timeframe for subject persons to submit Suspicious Transaction Reports (“STRs”) to the FIAU did not provide for the prompt submission of such reports. In light of this, amendments were recently carried out to Regulation 15(3) of the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations (“PMLFTR”) with a requirement for such STRs to be submitted to the FIAU “promptly.” Such amendments therefore merited a revision of Chapter 5 of the Implementing Procedures in order to set out the methods in which subject persons are to ensure that reporting takes place in a prompt manner.
The changes to the Implementing Procedures are as follows:
Under the revised rules, internal reports are to be filed with the Money Laundering Officer (“MLRO”) not later than the next working day from when a subject person’s employee becomes aware of any information or matter that is considered by the said employee to give rise to knowledge or suspicion of money laundering or terrorism financing. It is imperative that this timeframe is to be adhered to, independently of whether the employee in question is to consult with any superiors or otherwise.
Furthermore, suspicious transaction reports (“STRs”) are to be submitted to the FIAU on the same day on which the MLRO determines that the information or matter set out in the internal report actually gives rise to knowledge or suspicion of money laundering or terrorism financing. The FIAU does acknowledge that in some instances the case to be reported may be quite complex and the MLRO may not be able to organize and submit the information and documentation at hand within the same day as the one on which the MLRO would have determined the need to file a STR. In such instances, the STR need not be submitted within the same day as long as the STR is filed within the shortest time possible and without undue delays.
Consideration of Internal Reports
It is crucial that MLROs are required to consider internal reports with the utmost urgency and without unreasonable delay. It is to be noted that the revised Chapter 5 does not set out any specific timeframe within which the MLRO is to make said determination however, the revised Implementing Procedures do provide that such exercise has to be carried out without any unreasonable delay. Furthermore, several criteria is provided which set out the FIAU’s expectations when it comes to how the MLRO is to consider internal reports and prioritise the same.
Delegation of MLRO functions
Additionally, renewed emphasis is being put on the need for MLROs to be provided with the necessary resources to carry out their work in an effective manner. The revised Implementing Procedures also highlights that any action to be undertaken by the MLRO with respect to reporting need not be taken by the MLRO himself but may be delegated to any employee falling under the MLRO’s supervision. Furthermore, any such delegation is to be accompanied by the appropriate level of supervision by the MLRO as the MLRO remains responsible for the carrying out of the core functions assigned to this function.
The revised implementing procedures may be found Here.
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