FIAU Publish ‘Intelligence Factsheet’ Of STR’s

The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) of Malta has published its ‘intelligence factsheet’ which provides an overview of ‘suspicious transaction reports’ (STRs) submitted during 2019 by licenced incumbents of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).

FIAU is a central agency of the Government of Malta responsible for the collection, processing and review of data and information with a view to countering money laundering and terrorist financing.

Under Malta’s financial conduct rules, STRs must be reported by all registered undertakings when they believe that an account, customer or transaction is connected with illegal activity or consent.

The FIAU reported a total of 1445 STRs from 210 MGA licenced operators during 2019, continuing its 100 percent rise in suspicious transactions registered by its ‘CASPAR monitoring system’ year-on-year trend.

A breakdown of results saw 32 percent (457 cases) of the total STRs submitted by three companies and a further 35 percent (498 cases) registered by another five licenced operators, with 72 organisations submitting the remaining 33 percent (approximately 486) of the STRs.

‘Disputed transactions’ were recognised as the dominant cause for recorded incidents, linked to operators flagging account anomalies, suspicious activities and chargebacks, reporting 46 percent of STRs.

Other transactional-based customer account conflicts will not check their source of funds details with respect to large deposit funds being rejected as customers ‘.

The FIAU announced that clients had become uncooperative in applications to provide their personal documents to validate their identity in 17 percent of documented instances.

On verification, 15 percent of reported cases suggested that customers submitted fake or fabricated operator documents, while 3 percent of STRs related to people’ known on open source criminal databases.’

Meanwhile, 2 percent of cases related to clients demanding withdrawals/transfers to bank accounts located within ‘high-risk jurisdictions’ were identified by operators.

In 1 percent of the cases submitted, cybercrime was recorded in cases where operators claimed that a customer’s account had been hacked or compromised by a fraudulent third party.

The ‘predicate offence is not identified’ is labelled as “unknown” or “other” for most of the STRs submitted by remote gaming operators during 2019.

For transactions below EUR 10,000, a financial breakdown of results reported that 32 percent of STRs had been registered. The enforcement unit, however, noted that 22 percent of STRs were registered for transactions over EUR 100,000, with a substantial 36 STRs reported for sums over EUR 1 million.

The FIAU reported 741 STR cases related to online gambling for 2020, under which the enforcement unit continues to broaden its CASPAR system’s monitoring capability.

In its factsheet statement the FIAU detailed: “In most of the cases, the FIAU considers it more appropriate to send a spontaneous intelligence report to foreign FIUs rather than to trigger an investigation in Malta on the basis of STRs received from the remote gaming entities.

“Although the FIAU does not open its own in-depth analysis in these cases, the majority result in further dissemination to its foreign counterparts. As a result, information received through these submissions accounted for 35 percent of the total spontaneous intelligence reports shared with foreign FIUs in 201.”