Thailand being named to money-laundering blacklist will affect investor confidence

Friday, 24 February 2012 From Issue Vol. XX No. 8 By  MCOT

The international money-laundering watchdog’s decision on blacklisting Thailand will inevitably affect foreign investors’ confidence.

Worawan Tharapoom, president of the Association of Investment Management Companies, sees that the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) decision to include Thailand on the blacklist of countries failing to meet international standards would definitely impact foreign investor confidence and will affect Thailand as a whole.

The move will increase the cost for capital investment and financial transactions, she said. It will eventually impede international trading including opening accounts with international financial institutions and remittances as additional documents and clarification may be needed to identify the origin of the money and objective of transferring money abroad, and the time taken for money transactions will be longer.

Ms Worawan, who is also vice president of the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organizations, suggested that the public and private agencies involved should coordinate to speed up legislation against money-laundering and anti-terrorist financing laws in order remove Thailand from the blacklist as soon as possible.

The FATF added Thailand, Pakistan, Indonesia, Ghana and Tanzania to its 12 blacklisted nations.  No countries were taken off the blacklist, but Honduras and Paraguay were removed from an intermediary “grey-list” of countries found to be falling behind on international standards.

The list was officially announced on Feb 20 after FATF ended its annual meeting in France last Friday.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong expressed concern over the FATF’s decision for fear of negative repercussions in various aspects.

The government is now waiting an official response on the matter from the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO), a concerned agency representing Thailand at the FATF meeting in France, Kittiratt said.

AMLO has drafted two bills concerning anti-money laundering and terrorism. He said that the government would consider whether there is any problem with the legislation procedures.

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