Friday, 11 February 2011

Central bank pinpoints terror links

via CAAI

Thursday, 10 February 2011 20:30 May Kunmakara

The National Bank of Cambodia flagged four cases under its guidelines governing restrictions on financing terrorism activities and counterfeiting money in 2010, according to NBC governor Chea Chanto.

The central bank’s Financial Intelligent Unit had reviewed nearly 100 suspicious reports submitted by banks under the regulations, he said.

“The unit had received 99 suspicious operations reports from 14 commercial banks – of which four cases were relevant to terrorism financing activities and counterfeit money transfers,” he said, according to a copy of a speech given on Tuesday.

The NBC issued an Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism prakas, or edict, in May 2008, which set out guidelines for the central bank to investigate suspicious transactions, particularly those worth more than US$10,000 or 40 million riel.

Canadia Bank vice president Dieter Billmeier said the actions taken by the National Bank were the result of close cooperation among several international organisations such as the US Treasury Department.

According to international agreements, banks in Cambodia must comply with good governance, and have responsibilities to follow up in areas such as suspected money laundering and financing terrorism.

“In case of reasonable doubt in money transfer, even in account matters … reports have to be made directly to the respective department in the National Bank,” he wrote.

“Last year we reported a handful of cases,” he said, adding the project was successful, and in the past had led to some arrests in Cambodia.

ACLEDA Bank president In Channy said the bank had faced a handful of suspicious cases in 2010.

“We had two or three suspicious operations last year, and immediately reported to the NBC to receive an inspection,” he said.

ACELDA does not limit money transfers, but requires that customers transferring more than $10,000 specify the purpose for the transaction.

“Normally, any commercial bank with a lot of customers will have this kind of suspicious activity occur,” he said.

National Bank of Cambodia official Phan Ho said cases that are flagged by the Financial Intelligence Unit are then sent to the police to pursue.

Phnom Penh municipal police chief Touch Naruth could not be reached today, but Phan Ho – who is director of the Financial Intelligence Unit among other responsibilities – claimed that the four cases sent to the police in 2010 had not turned into convictions.

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