In the execution of the powers communicated through article 7 of the External Transactions Act, the Minister for Finance and Financial Services has introduced certain new regulations – Legal Notice 285 of 2020.
To begin with, as of recently, anyone entering, leaving or transiting through Malta whilst carrying cash amounting to €10,000 or more, is obliged to declare such sum to the Commissioner for Revenue. Moreover, such obligation to declare the abovementioned can be disregarded by completing the relevant form which is to be delivered to the Commissioner for Revenue (CFR) when entering, leaving or transiting through Malta.
In addition, the CFR shall record and detain any carried/unaccompanied cash when there are indications that said amount of cash is related to any criminal activity.
During the period of detention of cash, the Commissioner shall inform the competent authorities about the cash deposited and give them information about the person carrying it, and they shall determine whether any criminal offence has been committed, is being committed or is about to be committed by means of that cash under any law excluding these regulations and if so, criminal proceedings shall commence within the period of detention of the cash.
As soon as a decision is taken that the cash will be detained because criminal activity has been detected, the person shall be notified and the reason for the detention of the cash shall be given.
The CFR shall compile and maintain a database containing all the details of the declarations and breaches made according to these regulations. This compilation shall be forwarded to the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).
The Legal Notice points out very clearly the fact that anyone who fails to comply with these regulations or, anyone making false declarations made for the purposes of these regulations, shall be guilty of an offence.
Moreover, if the carried amount amounts to more than €10,000 but not more than €30,000, the CFR may enter into an agreement with the individual involved and impose a penalty of 50% (or equivalent) of the sum carried in excess of the €10,000. This, excluding another penalty of €25, in lieu of proceedings in court.
In the absence of such agreement, the Commissioner shall detain the amount in excess of €10,000, or the whole amount when the cash is indivisible and deposit it in the Depository and the person concerned shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine equivalent to 55% of the sum carried in excess of €10,000 together with another fine of €50. This is also the procedure carried out in the case where the sum carried by the individual exceeds €30,000.
When the abovementioned carried sum is equivalent to precisely €10,000, and an agreement as discussed above, takes place, then a penalty of €25 shall be issued. In the case were there is a conviction, the penalty shall be that of €50.
This legal notice shall supersede by immediate effect the old regulations concerning cash control i.e. Subsidiary Legislation 233.07 – Cash Control Regulations – 15th June, 2007.
Originally published July 13, 2020
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.