Another direct order of over €2 million was given by the Finance Ministry to international consultants Oliver Wyman for advice on anti-money laundering systems – the second direct order to be given to the same company totalling over €4 million, according to announcements in the government gazette in the last month.
The direct order was for the “continuation of [the] provision of support” related to the implementation of the strategy on combating money laundering and terrorism financing”.
The Shift News reported another direct order of over €2 million to the same company, announced only last month.
The amounts of both direct orders defy procurement regulations. Though announced within a month of each other, they date back to July and December 2018. It is unclear why they are being announced months later, and in ‘instalments’.
In January, the government had announced that the budget of the anti-money laundering agency FIAU had increased by €10 million – from €1.6 million to €10.6 million.
So far, it seems Oliver Wyman has got close to half that amount.
Scicluna had justified the drastic increase in budget by saying it was for boosting human resources, increasing security in the handling of data, and improving the security of the building. Some funds would be used to draw up an action plan and to engage “international skilled persons” to help with anti-money laundering requirements, the Finance Ministry had said.
The money is being used to fight issues that Finance Minister Scicluna said were “false allegations” designed to sully the reputation of Malta.
He had complained that he was unable to go anywhere without people asking him about corruption in Malta, adding that these allegations were started by ‘fellow Maltese’ and followed by others who have an “agenda” against Malta.
Those comments were made in September, two months after his ministry had already signed the first €2 million direct order, according to dates published in the government gazette.
The agency has been under intense scrutiny over the last few years due to a string of money laundering scandals involving those at the centre of government.
Oliver Wyman were also hired by “troubled” Deutsche Bank to help them pass a stress test in the US following widespread deficiencies discovered by regulators.
The German bank has also been named as one of the western financial institutions that received and processed more than US$889 million originating from the Troika Laundromat – an international money laundering scandal that was revealed by the OCCRP last week.