The Constitutional Court presided over by Madam Justice Audrey Demicoli today gave verdict over the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit’s current compliance process and Anti Money Laundering fines. The court declared them as null and unconstitutional and without any effect.
Malta’s Anti-money Laundering laws are expected to have serious repercussions now as the court ruled that the current laws and regulations of FIAU’s AML processes breach the right to a fair trial. This is against the constitution of Malta.
Judge Demicoli also annulled a fine worth over €400,000 that was imposed on a Financial Service provider. Phoenix Payments Limited was fined the said amount in 2021 on Money Laundering charges linked to cryptocurrencies and Malta was in the grey-list of FATF at that time. but the court ruled that this fine is invalid under the constitution of Malta and FIAU cannot act as a self-regulatory court.
Several similar cases are before the courts that challenge the FIAU’s AML process and the fines it imposes. This ruling marks a striking blow on unlawful and unconstitutional use of power and authority.
Phoenix Payments Ltd has closed down operations in Malta after this fine and claimed that FIAU had no right to impose such fines and that Phoenix had not been given the right to a fair hearing.
Marco Lavanna, the Founder of Phoenix told the source in 2021 that Malta, FSA and FIAU are trying to impress the FATF by such fines and trying to remove Malta’s name from the grey list for years.