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Anti-Money Laundering Plan

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Michael Keelty (right), co-chair of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering, speaks as Eliot Kennedy, head of the APG secretariat, looks on. Mr. Kennedy said Cambodia has been cooperating well with the APG. Reuters

With the deadline for a second review by a global task force of the government’s efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing fast approaching, the Kingdom’s central bank yesterday conducted a workshop with banks, financial institutions and state agencies to flesh out a strategy to combat the international crimes.
 
“The government continues to cooperate with international agencies to act against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. This workshop aims to come up with a national strategy to strengthen the legal framework and implement the law to fight these crimes,” said Chea Chanto, governor of the National Bank of Cambodia and head of the National Coordination Committee on Anti-Money-Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism.
 
Cambodia’s anti-money laundering strategies, as well as those used to prevent financing of terrorism, have not been reviewed by the Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering since 2007, when the agency first worked with the government to evaluate policies and strategies to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
 
The APG, which was founded in 1997 as part of the global Financial Action Task Force, is an autonomous agency that collaborates with member governments to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. It has given the government a year-end deadline for a review of its national strategies that has to comply with APG’s evaluation methodology for assessments of technical compliance as well as effectiveness of rules and monitoring.
 
“Cambodia had once been evaluated by the APG in 2007, but did not get a good result because there was a lack of laws in the country to prevent money laundering and financing of terrorism. The APG evaluation this time will be quite complicated compared to the past evaluation,” said Mr. Chanto.
 
The central bank governor said Cambodia has been working hard on a national strategy and amending laws to criminalize money laundering and terrorism financing since the 2007 evaluation.
 
“We will continue our work and cooperate with international agencies, bilateral and multilateral parties to combat these crimes,” added Mr. Chanto.
 
Cambodia became a member of the APG in 2004, after the Kingdom established the Financial Intelligence Unit under the National Bank of Cambodia. As a member of APG, Cambodia will be provided with technical support before, during and after the evaluation.
 
Eliot Kennedy, head of the APG secretariat based with the Australian Federal Police in Sydney, told Khmer Times that the workshop organized by the National Bank of Cambodia was a continuation of the cooperation the Kingdom had been giving to the APG since the last evaluation.
 
In this year’s edition of the Basel Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Index, Cambodia ranked sixth highest globally with an overall score of 7.89. This is against a risk scale from zero to 10, with 10 being the highest risk.
 
According to the 2016 Basel AML Index, Cambodia is also the highest-risk nation in Asean and added that the pace and quality of reforms were “not sufficient enough to significantly improve the overall money laundering risk situation.”

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