Cambodia has made significant progress towards being removed from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) money laundering grey list but still has work to do, according to local anti-corruption outfit Transparency International Cambodia (TI Cambodia).
The comments, from TI Cambodia Executive Director Pech Pisey, come after FATF last week confirmed Cambodia remains on a list of Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring, meaning it is actively working with the agency to address what are described as “strategic deficiencies” in its AML mechanisms.
“The positive progress is the result of introducing legal principles, creating a general department that is leading the fight against money laundering and the establishment of new international and regional cooperation combating money laundering,” said Pisey, as reported by The Phnom Penh Post.
“Recently there was the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to combat money laundering led by the Ministry of Justice, and the Anti-Corruption Unit [ACU] has recently provided training on investigations to the tax general department.”
However, “Although we have legal principles, the implementation of the law is still limited as the investigations, arrests and punishment of suspects is still weak. Another weakness is the sharing of secret information related to these crimes with other countries. Generally, we need international cooperation and our Cambodian officials’ capacity is still limited.”
Cambodia is seen as a prime target for money laundering outfits, including through its casino industry, which has recently become the focus of a government-led crackdown to address issues around human trafficking.
The General Secretariat of the Commercial Gambling Management Commission of Cambodia (CGMC) also issued new guidelines for the operation of commercial casinos last week with a view to stamping out illegal casino operations across the country.
“High risk areas for money laundering include gambling, casinos, real estate and shadow investments which are not properly registered,” said Pisey.