Money laundering watchdog seized Bt10 billion in 15 years


BANGKOK, Aug 19 — Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) seized nearly Bt10 billion in assets suspected of money-laundering links and it will seek legal amendment to increase the range of money-laundering offences.

On the 15th anniversary of his agency today AMLO Secretary-General Seehanat Prayoonrat said that the office seized Bt9.7 billion in assets involved in money-laundering. Last year it sought court orders to confiscate Bt905 million in assets.

Next year AMLO will focus on seizing drug cartel assets and preventing money-laundering through financial institutions, he said. The office will strictly enforce the law to require financial institutions to report suspicious transactions.

The AMLO secretary-general said that improved anti-money laundering laws and measures increased asset seizures. In the first 13 years of its operation, AMLO seized Bt4.5 billion worth of assets while in the past two years it seized more than Bt5 billion in assets.

Pol Lt Col Seehanat said the AMLO will soon propose legal amendment to increase money-laundering offences and prevent terrorist financing and money-laundering through financial institutions.

AMLO will also change the minimum amount of cash that travelers must declare when arriving or exiting the country. The amount is presently set at US$20,000.