New decree fights money laundering


HA NOI — The Government issued a legal framework for anti-money laundering that provides guidance for setting up systems to report and investigate suspicious transactions.

Experts have warned that cash-based economies such as Viet Nam are hotspots for money launderers. The move is seen as a strong commitment to combat these activities.

Decree No 74, issued on Tuesday, will come into effect on August 1.

Stipulating sanctions against money laundering, the decree says that any transaction services made in cash or in gold worth VND200 million (US$12,700) or more, or transactions related to any savings accounts worth VND500 million ($31,600) or more, will be put under close supervision.

The decree also clearly outlines measures such as freezing suspected accounts, sealing or temporarily seizing questionable assets, and detaining suspects.

Money launderers will be punished in accordance with the Criminal Code, and those who violate the rules while working on anti-money laundering will be fined VND30 million ($1,900) andlor have their licence revoked.

Experts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) said at a recent workshop in Ha Noi that Viet Nam is becoming a target for money laundering groups.

They said money launderers are highly interested in the cash-based Vietnamese economy. As a market on its way toward global integration and very open to investors, Viet Nam is an ideal target for legalising money through engaging in business, experts said.

The Government asked the State Bank of Viet Nam to establish an Anti-Money Laundering Information Centre to collect and deal with relevant information flow.

The bank will also draft a list of suspected services in addition to the 13 kinds of questionable transaction services already defined in the decree, and will report regularly in written documents to the Government. — VNS