MGA Removed from FAFT Grey List

After FAFT removes Malta from its financial ‘grey list’ Gibraltar finds itself in the firing line of the global financial watchdog! (Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay )

The financial watchdog is at it again as Gibraltar finds itself on the FAFT firing list. Some of the reasons for the grey list entry are due to lapse in anti-money laundering practices and lack of transparency for company ownership in some cases.

Found on Spain’s south coast, the British Overseas Territory has long attracted businesses from all over the globe. Furthermore, it is home to some of the iGaming and sports betting industry’s most successful companies. This includes London Stock Exchange-listed Entain Holdings (Gibraltar) Limited and 888 Holdings Public Limited.

Obviously, Entain and 888 are in good standing, and would never let things slip due to their LSE affiliations. However, the system these companies operate within is under fire, which will not go down well with either firm.

Both are meticulous in their brand reputation and image by acting responsibly, so news of the Gibraltar government letting things slip will not be taken well. Even more so when you consider the warning signs were there when the Maltese Government found itself in exactly the same situation. Questions will be asked as to why the warning signs were not heeded.

It was almost a year ago Malta found itself, unwantedly of course, on the list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). It was a cause for concern for iGaming companies and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) all of which rely on the island’s governance to take of these issues.

Although officials in charge of the financial frameworks in Malta should never have let things get to the point of being put on the FAFT grey list, they did act quickly to rectify them, and it took a little under 12 months to come off the list, which by all accounts is pretty impressive timing.

Malta Removed from the FAFT List—It’s back to business as usual!

When Malta found its way onto the Global Dirty Money Watchdog’s ‘grey’ list, officially known as the FAFT ‘grey’ list, it goes without saying that the news was a blow. Considering Malta is teaming with insurance, financial, crypto, sports betting and iGaming companies all of which rely on the country’s reputable standing, and management of that standing, within the global financial sphere.

But I have to say, hats off to the Maltese authorities. Within 12 months, the country was off the grey list thanks to the speedy action plan put in place by the powers that be.

Finally, the removal from the grey list has restored the island’s business image. Malta has long been known as a business start-up-friendly jurisdiction with liberal tax laws applied to fledgling firms. Hence, there are so many tech start-ups operating in the island country. Case and point, the Malta Business Registry (MBR) includes 30+ cryptocurrency firms including the industry-leading exchange and virtual currency connoisseur – Binance.

There are also a huge number of iGaming firms operating in Malta. the well-known BetConstruct live casino brand, Play’n GO Malta Limited, Pragmaticplay Ltd, and Genesis Global, which operates the Casino Cruise Live Casino. These companies are highly reputable firms within the iGaming sphere and were clearly not impressed with Malta’s slip onto the FAFT grey lists.

However, the FATF saga is over, and Malta’s reputation is quickly restored. After all, the Mediterranean archipelago island has always had a consistent economic and political environment. It comes as no surprise that the big wigs in charge swiftly acted to rectify the FATF’s concerns.

In order to get off that FAFT list, a 12-month effort focused in particular on finance, cryptocurrencies, and gambling sectors is now complete. Of course, ‘complete’ does not mean over. The continued monitoring of these businesses ensures every operation under these industries operates within the scope of the FATF’s strict frameworks. One of the key areas in that framework is the focus to prevent Anti-Money Laundering (AML).

Grey List Vs Blacklist: Malta was never on the FAFT’s blacklist. In essence, the grey list means that there is room for improvement. I.e., some lapse AML checks and loopholes or cracks in the system are being exploited. Often these loopholes emerge due to law changes attempting to attract new business. Malta has officially shut this area of concern down. You read exactly how Malta managed to get off the grey list here.

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