Cambodia cracks down on money laundering

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Anti-Corruption Unit chief Om Yentieng. Hong Menea

Cambodia investigated 140 money laundering cases as of June and 22 were sent to court. Assets have been frozen in some cases and five have gone to trial, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Information on Thursday.

The ministry quoted Anti-Corruption Unit chief Om Yentieng who said the government has relevant ministries and institutions to tackle the issue and confiscate goods in a timely and effective manner in line with the UN Anti-corruption guidelines and the Asia-Pacific Group (APG).

Yentieng said APG requires Cambodia to implement two points. The first is to strengthen the capacity of judicial police officers, identify criminals and seize illegal goods. The second is to better manage and document the work that goes into stopping crimes, detaining offenders and freezing laundered money to get Cambodia off the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Grey List.

“We have almost all the basic mechanisms required of us engage internationally and globally in the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism [AML/CFT],” Yentieng said.

Under the AML/CFT, Cambodia is subject to the implementation of FATF through APG.

The results of both inspections – The UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and AML/CFT implementation – show shortcomings related to the seizure of criminal goods in Cambodia. The inspections found that the country’s procedures for implementation, detention, asset freezing and confiscation are still limited, according to Fresh News.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin said on Sunday that in the past, the management and seizure of goods in Cambodia generally followed the rules of each sector.

“The general criminal offences in the special Criminal Code are in accordance with the laws in each sector, but there is a need for modernisation and for amending or preparing new laws,” he said.

Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (Ansa) executive director San Chey said the management of the seizure of illegal goods in Cambodia does not seem to have enough mechanisms, especially the means of seizure.

Chey said he wants a review of materials and equipment confiscated to be used in a targeted and transparent manner.