Laos Toughens Anti-Money Laundering Measures

Source: Vientiane Times

The National Committee for anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) has reviewed the progress of preparations for the 2020-21 mutual evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The government is evaluating domestic measures to tackle money laundering and the financing of terrorism in line with international standards, and also improving the financial system to achieve the goal of boosting business and investments in different fields.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr Somdy Duangdy, who is also the Chairman of the National Committee for AML/CTF, presided over the meeting in Vientiane on Tuesday. Governor of the Bank of the Lao PDR, Mr Sonexay Sithphaxay, who is also the committee’s Vice Chairman, attended the meeting. Members of the National Committee for AML/CTF reviewed the work done to prepare for the mutual evaluation for Laos, including the given tasks and priorities for 2020-2021.

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The meeting agreed to carry on its work by focusing on a technical workshop on inspections and investigations for officials involved in AML/CTF, and to enhance cooperation with international partners before the mutual evaluation by the FATF in early 2021.

The committee’s main activities include initial evaluation of the national risk of AML/CTF, capacity building of sectors in-charge of inspecting for suspected money laundering, and improving the operations and coordination of the sectors involved.

As a member of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering, Laos is obliged to implement the FATF’s 40 recommendations to meet international standards for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.

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At the meeting, Mr Somdy has called for the officials in charge for AML/CTF to strengthen the implementation of the given tasks to ensure the evaluation resulting in a satisfactory level.

The meeting also reported on various activities which have seen good progress but more work needs to be done to reach the target and ensure the country’s economy and financial system are sound, ensure financial stability, and strengthen integration with regional and international entities.

The committee has committed to collaborate with other relevant sectors to crack down on all forms of unlawful actions related to money laundering under the cooperation with ministries, financial institutions and other foreign partners.

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