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Politicians, Judges, and Heads of Public Companies identified as PEPs by Maltese FIAU in latest publication


By Elizabeth Hearst for AMLi

The Maltese Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit has published a detailed list of roles that qualify as politically exposed persons (PEPs). 

In its ‘Implementing Procedures’ document filed last month, the FIAU identified critical roles and responsibilities that could pose a risk, and identifies PEPs as a “natural person who is or has been entrusted with a prominent public function”.

Those identified as PEPs must go through more stringent assessment processes of their “business relations” that are processed by banks and financial institutions. PEPs ongoing “business relationships” and “occasional transactions” will also be monitored, according to Malta Today. 

The country’s National Coordinating Committee on Combating Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism advised the financial oversight body to introduce the list.

Those listed as PEPs include high ranking government officials including the Maltese President, the Prime Minister, all Government Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, the Speaker of the House and all Heads of Secretariat within any Government Ministries.

Also listed are members of the governing bodies of political parties, however this is limited only to political parties in the Maltese parliament. Party leaders, Deputy Party leaders, CEO and deputy roles, Secretary-Generals and Assistant Secretaries are also included. 

The Maltese Chief Justice and all Judges serving in the Courts are also identified as PEPs, as well as the Governor of the Central Bank of Malta, Deputy Governors and Central Bank Directors, Auditor General and Deputy Auditor General. 

The list also includes Ambassadors, Chargé d’affaires and high-ranking army officials, as well as senior state and government officials including the Head of the Civil Service, Attorney General, Ombudsman, Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner, Revenue Commissioner, Security Service Head, Data Protection Commissioner and the Director, Chair and Deputy Chair of the Asset Recovery Bureau. 

The FIAU have also identified particular characteristics of those PEPs who may “pose a higher risk”, including those whose wealth is “derived from preferential access to the privatisation of former state assets”, and those whose wealth is “derived from commerce in industry sectors associated with high barriers to entry or a lack of competition”. 

Individuals whose “wealth or lifestyle” is “inconsistent with known legitimate sources of income of wealth”, or those who have “credible allegations of financial misconduct” and those whose “appointment to a public office” appears “inconsistent with personal merit” will also be under increased scrutiny by officials. 

The FIAU have also identified a number of high-ranking officials working within state-owned enterprises as PEPs, including members of the administrative, management or supervisory boards. 

Chairpersons, CEOs, Directors of State-Owned Enterprises and Semi-State companies including Air Malta, electricity provider Enemalta and Public-Private Partnerships provider Projects Malta. 

Top officials of public companies, constitutional bodies and government departments who are responsible for “licensing or permits that could potentially generate considerable turnover” are also listed as PEPs, according to Malta Today. 

These include the Director of the Commerce Department, Chair, CEO and members of the Environment and Resources Authority, Lands Authority, Licensing (Trading) Appeals Board, Real Estate Agents, Property Brokers, Property Consultants, Malta’s Digital Innovation Authority, Maltese Gaming Authority, Malta’s Tourism Authority, Malta’s Further and Higher Education Authority, Energy and Water Services Regulator and Superintendent of Cultural Heritage. 

“PEPs pose a high risk of money laundering and financing of terrorism… due to the position they occupy and influence they exercise”, according to the Maltese Financial Services Authority (MFSA).

It’s believed that PEPs could be “abused for private gain”, with “family members of PEPs and persons known to be close associates of PEPs” subject to enhanced due diligence measures as they “may also benefit from, or be used to facilitate abuse by a PEP”. 

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