PHNOM PENH: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on global money laundering and terrorism financing says Cambodia is no longer subject to increased monitoring following the completion of an action plan to address “strategic deficiencies” identified three years ago.
“The FATF welcomes Cambodia’s significant progress,” the Paris-based watchdog said in a statement released Friday.
The statement said Cambodia had “strengthened the effectiveness” of its regime.
“Cambodia is therefore no longer subject to the FATF’s increased monitoring process,” it said, removing the country from its grey list.
The deficiencies identified in February 2019 included the legal framework for cooperation and prevention as well as risk-based supervision of financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses or professions.
Others included the quality and quantity of work by financial intelligence units, investigation and prosecution of money laundering and asset confiscation, and a legal framework for “proliferation financing” related to weapons of mass destruction.
‘HIGH-LEVEL POLITICAL COMMITMENT’ The task force said Cambodia made a “high-level political commitment” to work with the FATF and the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering to strengthen its regime.
At a meeting in October last year, the FATF found that Cambodia had “substantially completed its action plan and warrants an on-site visit” to verify that reforms had begun and were being sustained, “and that the necessary political commitment remains in place to sustain implementation and improvement in the future.”
The statement on Friday said the FATF would conduct the on-site visit to Cambodia “at the earliest possible date” depending on the COVID situation.
Key reforms since 2019 have included training prosecutors and judges, financial supervision, preventive measures in the casino, real estate, and money or value-transfer sectors, increased money laundering investigations, effective asset confiscation, and a framework for UN sanctions related to proliferation financing.
Following the removal of Cambodia and Morocco from its grey list on Friday, the FATF said two dozen jurisdictions were subject to increased monitoring.
Only three are backlisted as high-risk jurisdictions subject to a call for action – Iran, North Korea, and Myanmar.
Founded in 1989, the FATF currently comprises 2 regional organizations and 37 jurisdictions including 8 in the Asia-Pacific region — Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Singapore.