Myanmar placed back on money laundering watchlist

Massive Yangon city expansion renders Naypyitaw pointless
Yangon street view © Arno Maierbrugger

International financial watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as expected placed Myanmar back on its money-laundering watchlist, urging the country at the heart of the drug-producing “Golden Triangle” to boost its efforts to seize crime proceeds.

The decision on February 21 by the FATF to include Myanmar on its “grey list” puts the country on notice to make good on a “high-level” commitment to strengthen its anti-money laundering regime.

Thirteen countries are on the FATF grey list. Cambodia is the only other Southeast Asian country on the list.

The FATF removed Myanmar from the list originally in June 2016 based on progress the country had initially made. This included introducing legislative measures to curb money-laundering and new regulations for its cash-based remittance system. However, the agency said that the country’s institutions lacked understanding of “money-laundering risks in key areas”.

Drug syndicates in semi-lawless areas drive organised crime

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, who use drug proceeds to fund their campaigns.

Arms trafficking, illegal jade mining and logging are also big money-spinners for organised crime, the 2018 report added.

FATF now urged Myanmar to cooperate with other countries to combat the money laundering activities of global crime groups. It also pinpointed the need for Myanmar to use financial intelligence in law enforcement investigations and do a better job seizing the proceeds of crime.

Yangon street view © Arno Maierbrugger International financial watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as expected placed Myanmar back on its money-laundering watchlist, urging the country at the heart of the drug-producing “Golden Triangle” to boost its efforts to seize crime proceeds. The decision on February 21 by the FATF to include Myanmar on its “grey list” puts the country on notice to make good on a “high-level” commitment to strengthen its anti-money laundering regime. Thirteen countries are on the FATF grey list. Cambodia is the only other Southeast Asian country on the list. The FATF removed Myanmar from the...

Massive Yangon city expansion renders Naypyitaw pointless
Yangon street view © Arno Maierbrugger

International financial watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as expected placed Myanmar back on its money-laundering watchlist, urging the country at the heart of the drug-producing “Golden Triangle” to boost its efforts to seize crime proceeds.

The decision on February 21 by the FATF to include Myanmar on its “grey list” puts the country on notice to make good on a “high-level” commitment to strengthen its anti-money laundering regime.

Thirteen countries are on the FATF grey list. Cambodia is the only other Southeast Asian country on the list.

The FATF removed Myanmar from the list originally in June 2016 based on progress the country had initially made. This included introducing legislative measures to curb money-laundering and new regulations for its cash-based remittance system. However, the agency said that the country’s institutions lacked understanding of “money-laundering risks in key areas”.

Drug syndicates in semi-lawless areas drive organised crime

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, who use drug proceeds to fund their campaigns.

Arms trafficking, illegal jade mining and logging are also big money-spinners for organised crime, the 2018 report added.

FATF now urged Myanmar to cooperate with other countries to combat the money laundering activities of global crime groups. It also pinpointed the need for Myanmar to use financial intelligence in law enforcement investigations and do a better job seizing the proceeds of crime.

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