The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) has issued an update to its Implementing Procedures, with a focus on time frames for handling internal reports and their consideration by Money Laundering Reporting Officers (MLROs).
The issue was highlighted in the Moneyval Mutual Evaluation Report for Malta, which drew up a number of recommendations for local authorities to adopt in order to avoid being grey-listed by the Financial Action Task Force.
The FIAU today issued a revised version of the Implementing Procedures in line with the issues highlighted for reporting suspicious activity:
Internal reports are to be filed with the MLRO no 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 ML/FT. This timeframe is to be adhered to, independently of whether the employee in question is to consult with any superiors or otherwise.
Suspicion 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 ML/FT.
The FIAU said it 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:
MLROs are required to consider internal reports with the utmost urgency and without unreasonable delay. Recognising that not all internal reports may contain the necessary information and/or be accompanied by the required documentation for the MLRO to make this determination, the revised requirement does not set out any specific timeframe within which the MLRO is to make said determination.
However, the revised Implementing Procedures do provide that this exercise has to be carried out without any unreasonable delay and a number of criteria are 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:
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 highlight 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.
It has to be pointed out that 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 FIAU stressed.
Any reference to different timeframes for the submission of STRs present in any Implementing Procedures – Part II or any other document issued by the FIAU is to be considered as superseded by the above-mentioned requirements.