The lack of appetite for reform is partly due to the fact that some of the 28 EU states “display traits of a tax haven and facilitate aggressive tax planning,” the report said, citing Luxembourg, Belgium, Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland, Malta and The Netherlands.
“Europe has a serious money-laundering and tax fraud problem,” said socialist lawmaker Jeppe Kofod, who took part in drafting the report.
To counter cross-border tax evasion and financial crime, the committee recommended the European Commission immediately starts working on a proposal for a European financial police force with investigative powers.
Indeed, Malta’s effective implementation of controls and enforcement may be of some question, as Mike Carter, senior director at professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal’s Disputes and Investigations, told Cointelegraph, citing several concrete examples: “Only 92 money laundering investigations were conducted from 2013 through 2017. In July 2018, the European Banking Authority criticized Maltese application and enforcement of money laundering laws, citing ‘general and systematic shortcomings.’ In 2018, the European Central Bank withdrew the banking license for Pilatus Bank, operating in Malta since 2014, and launched investigations into the Maltese Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit’s handling of money laundering activity.”