Expanded money-laundering law to cover more offences

Expanded money-laundering law to cover more offences

The cabinet has approved a draft amendment to the Money Laundering Act to cover more offences including pornography, tax dodging and loan sharking, deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said yesterday.

The proposal, submitted by the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo), was to rectify the law to ensure it stays in line with international standards on fighting money-laundering and the financing of terrorism, after a suggestion by the Financial Action Task Force.

"After the bill is passed, it will serve as a tool for the government to combat crimes and will also help improve the image of Thailand," said Ms Ratchada.

The definition of a "predicate offence" will be rectified to cover the child pornography trade, tax evasion, document forgery, the digital asset trade, bid rigging and loan sharks. The definition of "profession" will also be defined clearly for Thai business operators.

A new provision will be added to cover identity fraud in transactions including where corrupt operators conceal their own identity in the act of defrauding customers. The offence is liable to imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of up to 60,000 baht or both.

A guideline will also be provided to keep customers' information confidential.

The bill will empower customs officials to confiscate international currency and so-called cross-border negotiable instruments. Data flows involving customs officials will also be revised.

In addition, the bill will also prevent ill-intentioned parties from exploiting non-profit organisations as a shield or source of laundering which can support the financing of terrorism.

An annual budget summary must be provided and Amlo will be able to stop suspicious transactions when it comes across them.

The cabinet has instructed the Office of the Council of State to combine a bill concerning the smuggling of illegal migrants with this measure, she added.

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