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Cambodia Vows to Remove Itself from the FATF's Gray List on Money Laundering

PHNOM PENH: The Minister of Interior, DPM Sar Kheng, has said that Cambodia will do its best to remove itself from the gray list of countries at risk of money laundering, as well as to promote Cambodia’s reputation both regionally and internationally.

Speaking at a meeting on Wednesday, 29 June, on Disseminating the Results of Work, and Setting the Work Direction Related to the Fight Against Money Laundering, Financing of Terrorism, and Financing of Genocide, the Chairman of the National Coordinating Committee of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, DPM Sar Kheng, recommended revising the composition and expanding the scope of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), as well as establishing sub-committees and working groups to lead and implement the remaining work under this agenda. He particularly urged for Cambodia to make efforts to be removed from the gray list of countries at risk of money laundering as soon as possible.

The Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, Chea Chanto, reported that after being included in the gray list for a second time in early 2009, Cambodia has strived to implement a 14-point action plan, launched and completed for the preparation of the Ninth Progress Report, set by April 2022, to achieve the immediate removal of Cambodia from the list of concern.

He added that Cambodia continues to report and maintain the growth of data related to the submission of reports and the number of investigations and allegations of money laundering, which requires the involvement of relevant officials to pull Cambodia out of the gray list and guarantee the stability of Cambodia's banking and financial system when international teams come to visit again in January 2023.

The Minister of Justice and Chairman of the Sub-Committee on the Implementation of the Action Plan of the Joint Monitoring Group of the Asia-Pacific Group on International Cooperation, Koeut Rith, reported that Cambodia has now established anti-money laundering mechanisms in ministries and institutions, which is the key to ensuring the effectiveness and sustainability of anti-money laundering efforts in Cambodia, both for the short and long-term future.

DPM Sar Kheng reiterated to the authorities the importance of taking measures to find the root sources of the drug traffickers' finances, and to freeze or confiscate them so that the criminals cannot launder their money.

He asked, "Are there any resources, assets, including budget, land, houses, other means or equipment that are relevant, and where do the perpetrators get them from, and how much do they have? [If we find this out] Then the court will make a decision to freeze [or] confiscate [the resources], which is what we have to do."

Cambodia continues to be included on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) gray list, denoting countries at risk of money laundering and that need to be closely monitored. This is the third year that the institution has put Cambodia on this list of concern.

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