Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Thai banks strictly adhere to law against money laundering, bankers’ association says rejecting ICIJ report

Sep 24. 2020
 Payong Srivanich
Payong Srivanich
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By The Nation

The Thai Bankers' Association and its members place great importance to strict compliance of the law and guidelines to combat money laundering, its chairman Payong Srivanich said.

His remark came in response to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)’s allegation that banks in some countries, including four in Thailand, were involved in suspicious transactions.

He added that all local banks follow a strict process of verifying clients and have name lists of the countries they are prohibited from doing transactions with.

The banks also constantly examine clients’ transactions to see if there is anything suspicious. If suspicious transactions are found, they will be reported to the Anti-Money Laundering Office as per normal.

The ICIJ published a report based on leaked reports of suspicious activities submitted to the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

The investigation was led by 108 international media outlets from 88 countries. In Thailand, the ICIJ found 92 transactions involving four Thai banks, comprising US$9.6 million in receipt and $31.75 million in remittance between 2000 and 2017, which were flagged as suspicious.

The four Thai banks named in the report are Bangkok Bank, Kasikornbank and state-owned Krungthai Bank and Export-Import Bank of Thailand.

Recently the Export-Import Bank of Thailand (Exim Thailand) issued a statement, dismissing the allegations.

The ICIJ report also provided information about US-based correspondent banks that facilitate transactions in US dollars in more than 150 countries. The records include more than 2,100 suspicious activity reports filed by nearly 90 financial institutions to FinCEN.

The transactions do not necessarily establish any criminal conduct or other wrongdoings. The data offers an overview of how money flagged as suspicious, and in some cases linked to corruption, fraud, sanctions evasion or other crimes, flows around the globe via networks of correspondent banks, according to the ICIJ.

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