26 August 2008
The Anti-Money Laundering Act (No. 2) B.E. 2551 (2008) ("AMLA No. 2") was published in the Government Gazette on 1 March 2008 and came into force on 2 March 2008. This Act, which amends the Anti-Money Laundering Act B.E. 2542 (1999), adds illegal gambling as a predicate offence, establishes the Anti-Money Laundering Fund and modifies the duties of the agencies responsible for controlling anti-money laundering.
In recent years, Thailand has established international cooperation with numerous countries and has passed laws and regulations to stop money laundering in Thailand. AMLA No. 2 is the second amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering Act B.E. 2542 (1999).
The key modifications under AMLA No. 2 are as follows.
Illegal Gambling as Predicate Offence
Under the original Act, there are eight categories of "predicate offence", which is defined as the underlying criminal activity that generates proceeds, which when laundered, results in the offence of money laundering. The predicate offence is an essential element of money laundering.
AMLA No. 2 adds a new category of predicate offences. The new category comprises the offences relating to illegal gambling. An organiser of illegal gambling can be charged with money laundering, if there are more than one hundred players or gamblers involved at one time, or where the total amount of money involved is in excess of ten million Baht.
Anti-Money Laundering Fund
AMLA No. 2 establishes the Anti-Money Laundering Fund within the Anti-Money Laundering Office for the following purposes:
(1) to facilitate investigations, prosecutions, searches, seizures, asset management, information sharing, witness protection or other matters related to anti-money laundering;
(2) to enhance cooperation with other related agencies or persons and the public to raise awareness and information, to provide meetings and training, to facilitate domestic and international cooperation and operations to support anti-money laundering policies; and
(3) to carry out other acts as necessary to achieve the objectives of the Act.
Duties of Competent Agencies
To strengthen the implementation of anti-money laundering measures, AMLA No. 2 imposes additional duties on the Anti-Money Laundering Board and the Transaction Committee.
The Anti-Money Laundering Board is authorised under AMLA No. 2 to return frozen or seized assets, to manage the Anti-Money Laundering Fund, and to identify information or documents which can be used as evidence in the prosecution of money laundering offences.
The Transaction Committee, whose main duties are to audit transactions involved in the commission of a predicate offence and to restrain the transactions if needed, has a new duty of supervising the independence and neutrality of the Anti-Money Laundering Office and its Secretary General.
AMLA No. 2 is one of the amendments that Thailand will introduce to its anti-money laundering law. Thailand's House of Representatives is at present deliberating on a draft Anti-Money Laundering Act, which if passed, will require professionals who advise on investment or on the movement of capital to perform a customer due diligence investigation before conducting any transaction.
With these measures, Thailand hopes to effectively combat money laundering activities which have become increasingly sophisticated and complex over the years.
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