Myanmar set to be placed on global money laundering watchlist

Myanmar is set to be placed on a watchlist by a global finance watchdog this week, amid concerns of money-laundering by transnational drug traffickers and weak regulation of its financial system.

While being on the list does not carry any sanctions, it could curtail the growth of financial, investment and trade flows to and from the Southeast Asian nation, a high-level official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

According to the sources of Reuters, Kyaw Win Thein, the head of Myanmar’s Financial Intelligence Unit who is attending the FATF meeting in Paris this week, told Reuters that Myanmar “is not on the gray list so far”. Its fate will be decided at a plenary meeting on Thursday, he said.

The FATF typically announces its decisions on Friday at the end of its Paris plenary meetings.

Myanmar lies at the heart of the “Golden Triangle” region, the epicenter of illicit drug production and trafficking in the Asia-Pacific. It also has “significant” problems with illegal jade mining, arms trafficking and logging, among other offences, an FATF report in 2018 found.

“Myanmar faces extremely high levels of proceeds-generating crimes” and was “exposed to a large number of very significant money laundering threats”, the report said.

The report also noted that the “activities of large-scale transnational crime groups” were “closely related” to ethnic armed groups which control swathes of Myanmar’s territory.

Netherlands extends support to Pakistan at FATF
Earlier on February 18, Ambassador of Netherlands to Pakistan Willem Wouter Plomp held a meeting with Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser in Islamabad.

During the meeting, Netherlands envoy appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan to check money laundering and terror financing and also reaffirmed support to Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The envoy said there is great scope of cooperation between Pakistan and Netherlands in the area of agriculture.

He said his country can assist Pakistan in enhancing production of potatoes, dairy farming and cultivation of flowers on commercial basis.



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