Guidance Note on Targeted Financial Sanctions in Malta

A guidance note was issued in October 2019 by the Sanctions Monitoring Board ("SMB") as the competent authority for the implementation of financial sanctions in Malta (the "Guidance Note").
The Guidance Note noted that all the sanctions issued by the European Union or the United Nations are directly applicable under Maltese law through the National Interest (Enabling Powers) Act, Chapter 365 of the Laws of Malta. All economic operators should be aware of the applicable sanctions and undertake all the required checks in order to be in compliance with these sanctions. It is important to note that if there is a situation which is in violation of the sanctions, one is obliged to stop any transaction, freeze any assets and inform the SMB. The Guidance Note also pointed out that the National Interest (Enabling Powers) Act will continue to be amended as necessary in order to meet the national interest, which in this case concerns the robust implementation of all national and international sanctions legislation in Malta.
Every subject person is obliged to implement, in full, all national and international sanctions legislation and the SMB must be informed immediately where an action is taken in relation to such legislation by the subject person. The SMB also highlighted that subject persons should carry out the relevant due diligence on customers when a potential sanctions issue arises, rather than refusing the transaction or exiting the customer relationship. Sanctions breaches are of a criminal nature under the laws of Malta and will be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
The Guidance Note also refers to a new service through which amendments to international sanctions lists are communicated to subject persons.This service is part of an approach to conduct more outreach activities with subject persons, normally by sector. The SMB highlighted to any queries regarding sanctions must only be provided to the SMB in writing.
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