Who Can File A Suspicious Transaction Report?
18 March 2019
Subject Persons are all deemed to be reporting entities in terms of the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations.
In general, these persons include: external accounting professionals, auditors, legal professionals and notaries (specifically, when assisting clients in any real estate or financial transaction amongst other scenarios), tax advisors, company service providers, gaming licensees and other persons (both entities and individuals) providing what is deemed to be a ‘relevant activity’, together with persons providing ‘relevant financial business’ which, inter alia, include credit institutions, insurance undertakings, persons providing investment services, and, the latest addition to the fold, Virtual Financial Asset (“VFA”) agents, VFA license holders, and VFA issuers.
All subject persons are obliged to have, together with customer due diligence measures and record-keeping procedures, reporting procedures (under the Maltese version of the Regulations: “proċeduri ta’ rappurtaġġ”) lead by the firm’s Money Laundering Report Officer (the “MLRO”). In the case of sole traders, such individuals would need to fulfil the same responsibilities as those of the MLRO.
The process for filing an STR is very structured, in that it is not the remit of an employee, CEO, or director of a subject person to reach out to the FIAU (Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit) to report. On the contrary, such individuals are obliged to submit an internal report in writing to the appointed MLRO, who, in turn, will need to consider whether the information contained in such report in conjunction with any other information that may be deemed relevant and gathered by the MLRO is sufficient to give rise to knowledge or suspicion as described above. The MLRO’s role in this reporting chain therefore entails that s/he should not be hindered from accessing any relevant information that is held by the subject person. The MLRO is provided a short regulatory time window in which to act: s/he is to disclose such information within five working days from when the knowledge or suspicion first arose. Specific templates have been set by the FIAU for such reporting and may be accessed on http://www.fiumalta.org/report-suspicious-transaction. It is the MLRO’s duty to keep log of all STRs filed and internal reports, including those that did not lead to the filing of an STR with the FIAU.