Global sanctions guide

  1. Does Malta have a sanctions regime in place?


  1. Does Malta implement UN sanctions?

Yes. Malta is a member of the European Union, which implements UN sanctions in all member states by way of directly applicable regulations.

  1. Does Malta implement an autonomous sanctions regime?

Yes. The Maltese Prime Minster has autonomous power to order the prohibition of trade with other countries or travel to or from any other country under the National Interest (Enabling Powers) Act 1993 (“the Act”) subject to the provisions laid down in the Act. The Sanctions Monitoring Board within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, established by Legal Notice 562 of 2010 under the Act, has the overall function of monitoring the implementation and operation of sanctions legislation in Malta.

Any person that freezes funds, assets or economic resources in accordance with the requirements of any sanctions must notify the Sanctions Monitoring Board in writing. Malta Financial Services Authority (“MFSA”) licence holders must also notify the MFSA of any action taken and any freezing made.

  1. What is the nature of the sanctions regime in Malta?

When the UN imposes sanctions, Malta enacts implementing legislation. EU Regulations have direct effect in Malta, however implementation regulations for their enforcement and the imposition of penalties are also adopted at national level. US sanctions are not legally binding in Malta but the MFSA encourages companies and the public in general to take US sanctions into consideration when conducting business activities.

The MFSA legally obliges its licence holders to comply with international sanctions and take all steps necessary for their immediate implementation. Licence holders are thus required to monitor their business relationships and to verify their records on an on-going basis for any information or transactions known or suspected to be connected or related to  designated individuals and entities, and to identify and freeze any funds, financial assets and economic resources in accordance with the requirements of the sanctions.

In addition, licence holders must report the findings of their verifications to the MFSA and inform the MFSA of any action taken. Where suspicious activities are identified, a report must be filed with the MFSA, setting out the finding as well as any action taken. Such report must be filed within 10 days and copied to the Sanctions Monitoring Board at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It must include information about any funds, financial assets and economic resources which have been identified to be owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the designated individuals and entities and which have been frozen in terms of sanctions.

The Sanctions Monitoring Board is empowered to give rulings on whether any action or transaction is prohibited by sanctions legislation.

  1. Does Malta maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities?

Yes. The MFSA’s website contains links to the sanctioned individuals and entities that have been listed by the UN, the EU and the US.

  1. Are there any other lists related to sanctions?

There is not a specific list. However Malta implements EU and UN sanctions in relation to Ukraine, Iran and Al-Qaeda. The lists pertaining to sanctioned individuals and entities under these sanctions regimes are therefore relevant.

  1. Does Malta have a licensing or authorisation system in place?

Yes. The Sanctions Monitoring Board deals with any authorisations required under specific laws.

  1. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in Malta?

The consequences for a breach of sanctions are a fine of up to €116,468.67 and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years.

  1. Who are the relevant regulators in Malta and what are their contact details?

The Sanctions Monitoring Board within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs monitors the implementation and operation of sanctions legislation.

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Palazzo Parisio
Triq il-Merkanti


Contributor law firm

Josette Grech, Guido de Marco & Associates - Advocates, 9, Britannia House, Level 2, Old Bakery Street, Valletta VLT 1450, Malta

T: (+356) 21255265/6
F: (+356) 21220842