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Friday, July 12, 2024

Cambodia Removed From FATF Financial Crimes Gray List

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Cambodia was taken off the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) “gray list” last week due to concentrated efforts by authorities to crack down on financial crimes, especially money laundering in the country.

The FATF removed Cambodia, along with Morocco from the list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring (i.e. gray list) after they showcased effectiveness in combating financial crimes.

In March last year, FATF, based in Paris, reported that Cambodia was on the list for the fourth year running since 2019.

Sar Kheng, Cambodia’s Interior Minister posted to his Facebook saying, “On behalf of the National Coordination Committee on Anti-Money-Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism, I would like to announce that the FATF has officially released its information on its website on February 24, stating that Cambodia is no longer on the gray list.”

Royal Cambodian Army Commander Lieutenant General Hun Manet, who is also in the running as a future Prime Minister candidate for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), congratulated all those who made this accomplishment possible.

“I would like to express my gratitude to Prime Minister Hun Sen and Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, the Minister of Interior, as well as the leaders of the working group for their hard work towards achieving this result which cleanses Cambodia’s name on the international stage,” he said.

The Khmer Times reported that In 2019, Cambodia cracked down on financial crimes and confiscated upwards of USD 10 million after being re-enlisted on the gray list.

One of the notable cases was when customs officers at the Phnom Penh International Airport arrested three Chinese nationals who tried to smuggle in more than $3.5 million from Hong Kong on 23 April 2019. 

A country is placed on a gray list to warn the financial community that the affected FATF high-risk country is not devoting sufficient efforts to combat financial crime.

More than 200 countries and jurisdictions follow FATF’s recommendations. The primary goal of the FATF anti-money laundering (AML) standards is to combat organized crime, illegal drug traffic, human trafficking, corruption, and terrorism.

On 12-23 September 2022, Laos had a mutual onsite evaluation with Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, with the team consisting of Mr. Craig Hamilton, New Zealand (FIU/Law Enforcement Assessor), Mr. Akira Irie, Japan (Legal Assessor), Ms. Aida Kasumawati Mohd Yatim, Malaysia (Financial Assessor), Ms. Subhani Keerthiratne, Sri Lanka (Financial Assessor), Ms. Carolyn Marsden, Australia (Legal Assessor), Ms. Gantsetseg Myagmarjav, Mongolia (Financial Assessor) and Ms. Chantanee Supasrivasuseth, Thailand (FIU/Law Enforcement Assessor).

This mutual evaluation focused on Laos’s anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing, and counter-proliferation financing regime. It assessed both technical compliances with the FATF international standards and the effectiveness of Laos’s implementation of AML/CFT/CPF measures, as required under the 2013 FATF assessment methodology, as per APG’s website.

Laos is currently not under High-Risk Jurisdictions Subject to Call For Action (i.e. black list) or the Jurisdictions Under Increased Monitoring (i.e. gray list) as of 24 February, according to FATF’s website.

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