24 Feb 2020
An international financial watchdog placed Myanmar on its money-laundering watchlist on Friday, urging the country at the heart of Asia’s illicit drug-producing “Golden Triangle” to boost its efforts to seize crime proceeds.
The decision by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to include Myanmar on its “grey list”, which Reuters reported on this week, puts the Southeast Asian nation on notice to make good on a “high-level” commitment to strengthen its anti-money laundering regime.
A spokesperson for Myanmar’s government could not be contacted on Friday but its representative at this week’s FATF meetings, Kyaw Win Thein, told Reuters on Wednesday that the country had a detailed strategic implementation plan to counter money-laundering.
The FATF, an inter-governmental agency based in Paris, said in a statement that Myanmar had “made progress”. This included introducing legislative measures to curb money-laundering and new regulations for its cash-based remittance system.
However, it lacked understanding of “money-laundering risks in key areas”.
In a 2018 report, the FATF found “Myanmar faces extremely high levels of proceeds-generating crimes” and was “exposed to a large number of very significant money laundering threats”.
Transnational drug syndicates have long operated in Myanmar’s north and northeastern borderlands, setting up illicit drug production facilities in semi-lawless enclaves controlled by armed ethnic groups.
By Tom Allard, Reuters, 21 February 2020
Read more at Reuters
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