Gibraltar's gaming commissioner, Andrew Lyman, is perplexed as to why the territory was put on the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) grey list, citing the absence of "fundamental, systemic anti-money laundering (AML) or terrorism financing deficiencies."
However, he stressed that authorities would not impose further punishments due of the listing.
Last week, Gibraltar was added to the grey list, which consists of territories subject to heightened scrutiny, while Malta was removed.
Lyman stated that he is "very dedicated" to removing Gibraltar on the list "as soon as feasible." He stated that he felt this could be accomplished swiftly, given that Gibraltar's action plan consisted of only two elements.
Similar to when Malta was originally added to the list, Gibraltar has been issued with an action plan to address any FAFT-identified financial deficiencies. Lyman stated that this was the "shortest action plan for any grey listed country" and that, like the Isle of Man, Gibraltar could have remained to be supervised by Moneyval.
Gibraltar will remain on the list for one year, till the stage of reevaluation. Lyman is optimistic that the jurisdiction will be removed from the list at the end of the year.
FAFT chairman Marcus Pleyner stated at the time that insufficient anti-money laundering fines were a factor in the decision.
Gibraltar's gaming commission negotiated six regulatory settlements with five operators for a total of £3.7 million throughout the assessment period, which occurred between 2020 and 2022, according to Lyman.
He said that these settlements “were not considered to be positive and tangible progress,” adding that there was “no criteria provided as to what would have been deemed sufficient”.
Lyman instead said that Gibraltar is “in many respects a flagship jurisdiction” in how it has bettered its AML and terrorist financing systems, and placing it on the grey list after improving its AML and terrorist financing failings is “difficult to cope with”.
According to him, the regulatory authority must now undertake further on-site assessments of operators to guarantee compliance with FATF requirements.
“We have to prove out that our regime is robust, he said. “Something we must accept we did not manage to achieve in the current round. We must assault the summit again.
“In order to achieve this, it will be necessary to continue our supervisory programme as well
as to bring forward some onsite visits which may not have been anticipated until a later date.
Lyman stated, however, that the jurisdiction will not change its rules in response to the grey list.
“What we will not do is artificially adapt our standards to accommodate enforcement cases. That is not the Gibraltar way. I do not believe for one moment that the FATF are asking us to do that.
“I do not see the objective as imposing more sanctions per se, but proving out the overall effectiveness of our regime and imposing sanctions where necessary and in a proportionate manner.”
By fLEXI tEAM