Thai govt pushed for laws on money laundering

THAILAND - Key business organisations are pressuring the government to promulgate new anti-money-laundering laws by next February so Thailand can be quickly removed from an international "Dark Grey List", which has had negative repercussions for the economy.

Twatchai Yongkittikul, secretary general of the Thai Bankers Association, told a news conference yesterday that since the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) put Thailand on the list in February this year because of the lack of such laws, the Thai business sector had experienced negative consequences.

The FATF is responsible for setting the global standards combating money-laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Since the move by the task force a few months ago, some financial institutions overseas have avoided transactions with their Thai counterparts.

Some institutions have pressed for more information on transactions originated by Thai banks. Exporters' clients have pondered whether they should transfer money to Thailand for trade settlements.

Twatchai envisaged that should the country remain on the list after February 2013, one of the negative consequences could fall on Thai individuals, who may be unable to use credit cards overseas.

While pressure regarding this issue was originated by financial institutions in Europe, he foresees it spreading to other parts of the world.

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