New Cash Transactions restrictions imposed in Malta
The 2020 Budget speach delivered by the previous Minister for Finance and Financial Services in October 2019 announced Malta’s new policy decision to bring in new restrictions on cash payments relating to high-value goods. This is an ttempt to clamp down on cash payments in sectors most vunerable to money laundering.
After the announcement of the above-mentioned policy decision, the FIAU was charged with a further function to monitor restrictions on payments in cash (introduced under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act).
On the 9th of March 2021, the Use of Cash (Restriction) Regulations (S.L. 373.04) (“the Regulations”)were published in the Government Gazette as Legal Notice 81 of 2021 and came into effect on the same day.
This prohibition is not universal but is only applicable in respect of the sale or purchase of any of the following:
- immovable property;
- jewellery, precious metals, precious stones and pearls;
- sea-craft; and
- works of art.
The official notice states that consequences include “A fine of not less than 40% of the sum paid, received, or otherwise transacted in cash in excess of €9,999.99, can be applied to any person who fails to comply with these Regulations. There is scope for a lesser administrative penalty through the conclusion of a settlement agreement upon the consent of the Attorney General. Directors, managers or any other officers exercising executive functions in a company or other undertaking, or body of persons, can be held liable in solidum with the company, undertaking or body of persons in case of any such breach.”