Laos Graduates From The Money Laundering ‘Grey’ List

Source: Vientiane Times

Laos is continuing on its risk assessment path for money laundering and countering finance for terrorism after the country graduated from the ‘Grey’ list, which was approved by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) last month.

The National Committee for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) in collaboration with the World Bank and other international partners have organised a four-day long AML/CFT workshop in Vientiane that started yesterday and runs through until July 7.

The workshop, entitled ‘National Money Laundering Risk Management Workshop’, will further build capacity in this very important issue.

In his opening remarks, the Vice-President of the National Committee for AML/CFT, Major General KongthongPhongvichith, said that Laos is successfully implementing its obligations in AML/CFT with the support of International bodies, especially the World Bank.

“AML/CFT is considered as a very important issue for Laos, as well as the whole world, when it comes to countering the financing for terrorism and money laundering,” he said, while praising the impressive job Laos has done in this area allowing it to leave the ‘grey’ list last month.

He also noted that the Risk Management workshop, for national level staff, will enable Laos to build capacity for officials in charge of AML/CFT helping them to understand more about the methods of the risk assessment by using new tools, including tools used for analysis of AML/CFT risks.

The keynote speaker at the workshop is Mr Nigel Barlett, a finance specialist at World Bank, and he joined at the workshop by other trainers from the World Bank.

The workshop participants come from the Ministry of Public Security, Bank of the Lao PDR, financial institutions, insurance companies and the securities sector.

Over recent years, Laos has worked with domestic and international organisations to improve various relevant activities especially inspections, analysis and management as well as capacity building and technology development.

As a member of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), Laos has obligations in implementing the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s 40 recommendations in order to meet international standards on anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism.

AML/CFT has become a global issue and every country has a responsibility to take action against these crimes based on their own regulations in association with internationally recognised standards.

Laos has not yet faced serious issues in terms of money laundering and financing for terrorism but it still needs to strictly follow the guidelines of the government and international banking regulatory bodies to prevent all forms of illegal money laundering.

The global economy continues to grow, including in the financial services sector, and with that growth is also coming improved AML/CFT measures developed alongside that growth. However, criminal activity in relation to money laundering and financing for terrorism remain a threat to the worldwide economy.

Laos will receive a second round of assessment for AML/CFT by Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) in the year 2020-21.