Around 10,000 defunct companies have been stricken off the Malta Business Registry, in another move intended to improve the island’s reputation.
Companies were taken off the list when they failed to file annual reports or accounts or did not give official ownership information.
Malta now has 96,000 companies on the registry.
The announcement was made by Economy Minister Silvio Schembri at a webinar held by the MBR at the Grand Hotel Excelsior in Floriana.
He said the move was aimed at safeguarding Malta’s reputation by drastically reducing the number of inactive accounts. It was something which was long overdue, he added.
“In view of the Moneyval report, several worthy actions were taken by the MBR, in light of recommendations put forward by the same report,” he said.
However, the cleaning exercise, he said, was started long before the Council of Europe released its report on Malta last September, which highlighted 60 areas the government needs to improve on to meet international standards preventing money laundering.
“This is not a question of being superficial,” continued Schembri. “We have intensified the process and a sustainable investment was made into MBR’s portal which will be up and running in a few months’ time.”
The portal will operate using a blockchain system as well as AI to verify documents and the number of human resource employees has been bolstered by 40 per cent.
Schembri says the government has also invested in intelligent technologies which have access to data held by national and international authorities.
The idea is that all directors and shareholders of businesses will now be screened before being allowed to operate in Malta.
The aim is to stop money laundering and the potential financing of terrorism.