Southern Cross SICAV, a Maltese investment fund, was fined €303,710 for "failures" in its anti-money laundering obligations, according to a public notice issued by the island's Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) on January 5.
The FIAU, which has been in operation since October 1, 2002, is Malta's national central agency in charge of collecting, collating, processing, analysing, and disseminating information in order to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
Despite the fact that Southern Cross Sicav was in the process of surrendering its MFSA license, the FIAU issued the fine due to the fund's "lack of regard" for its anti-money laundering obligations, which it said could have had an impact not only on its own operations but also on Malta.
Southern Cross failed to adequately document its internal money laundering procedures and did not properly screen its customers before accepting their money, according to the FIAU.
"In determining the administrative penalty, the Committee also considered that the Company had started the process of surrendering its Collective Investment Scheme License with the MFSA," it said. "If this process had not been initiated, a follow up directive would have been initiated by the Committee."
"Furthermore, due consideration was given to the nature of the services and products offered by the Company and the size of its business operations, including the closure of its business."
"The Committee also considered the fact that the requirements breached are important obligations and that the failures are serious in nature, given that the Company was servicing professional investors, therefore allowing millions to be invested through the SICAV, without robust controls in place." the statement continued.
"The Company's lack of regard towards its AML/CFT obligations, could have had an impact not only on its own operations but also had repercussions towards the local jurisdiction."
By fLEXI tEAM