On 26 August 2020, the Malta Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) published its 'Interpretative Note: Relevant Activity for Lawyers' (the Interpretative Note) designed to guide legal professionals in determining the conditions under which a 'relevant activity' in terms of Malta's AML/CFT legislative framework may arise. Being able to ascertain these conditions is of paramount importance, given that obligations under the applicable AML legislation will only apply where a legal professional carries out a relevant activity. When the activity in question falls outside the statutory definition of relevant activity, the legal professional carrying out such activity would not be considered a subject person for the purpose of the applicable AML legislation.
Where legal professionals are concerned, the term "relevant activity" under Article 2(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations ("PMLFTR")1, refers to the activities of notaries and other independent legal professionals when they participate, whether by acting on behalf of and for their client in any financial or real estate transaction or by assisting in the planning or carrying out of transactions for their clients concerning any of the following:
- Buying and selling of real property or business entities;
- Managing of client money, securities or other assets (unless the activity is covered under a licence issued under the Investment Services Act);
- Opening or managing bank, savings or securities accounts;
- Organisation of contributions necessary for the creation, operation or management of companies; and
- Creation, operation or management of companies, trusts, foundations or similar structures, or when acting as a trust or company service provider.
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.