Real estate sector tackles financial crimes

Sok Chan / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Lor Davuth (right), director of the Department of Cadastre and Geography and Say Sam Ath, Secretary General of the Financial Intelligence Unit. KT/Mai Vireak

Aiming to enhance transparency in the real estate sector, the Cambodian Financial Intelligence Unit and the General Department of Cadastre and Geography on Wednesday signed an agreement on combatting terrorism financing and money laundering by enhancing the exchange of information.

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This is the tenth such agreement signed by Cafiu, a body of the National Bank of Cambodia, with other local institutions to tackle financial crimes.

“The agreement will reduce the threat of financial crimes in the real estate sector in Cambodia,” said Ngeth Chou, a local economist and a real estate business owner.

“I believe such collaborations are effective tools to put an end to this type of illegal activities, and deter people from engaging in money laundering,” he said.

According to Asia / Pacific Group on Money Laundering’s latest report, Cambodia has a number of qualities that make it particularly vulnerable to money laundering, including a cash economy and porous borders.

The casino, real estate and banking sectors are particularly vulnerable due to their lack of supervision. Professions like lawyers are also highly susceptible to this type of activity, the report said.

“The country is exposed to a number of threats. The most significant ones are coming from fraud and scams, corruption and bribery, drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal logging, wildlife crime and goods and cash smuggling,” the report said.

APG is an autonomous agency that collaborates with member governments to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

On last year’s edition of the annual Basel Anti-Money Laundering Index, Cambodia ranked ninth out of 146 countries, making it one of the most vulnerable countries in the world. This latest ranking is an improvement from previous years. In 2014, the kingdom was the third country in the list, and in 2015 and 2016, it came sixth.

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