Myanmar downplays blacklisting by money laundering watchdog

Oct 24, 2022, 2:18 AM | Updated: 2:51 am
FILE - A man shows currency notes imprinted with portrait of Gen. Aung San, late father of Myanmar ...

FILE - A man shows currency notes imprinted with portrait of Gen. Aung San, late father of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, outside Myanmar Economic Bank on Jan. 7, 2020, in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar’s central bank has promised improvements and warned against currency manipulation after an international watchdog put the military-controlled country on a terrorism and financial crimes blacklist. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw, File)

(AP Photo/Thein Zaw, File)

BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar’s central bank has promised improvements and warned against currency manipulation after an international watchdog put the military-controlled country on a terrorism and financial crimes blacklist.

The Financial Action Task Force recommended that Myanmar be included among countries requiring stronger due diligence, citing deficiencies in its enforcement of precautions against money laundering and other financial crimes.

That jolted Myanmar’s informal currency exchanges, where the dollar’s value against the Myanmar kyat jumped to between 4,000-5,000 kyats from 2,900 kyats before falling back to about 3,000 kyats. The official exchange rate was 2,100 kyats per dollar on Friday.

The FATF removed Myanmar from its blacklist in 2016 as its economy opened up during a brief-lived time of transition toward a civilian, democratic government. But army leaders took control in February 2021. Most of the progress made toward better enforcement of anti-money laundering rules had taken place under the elected government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Among its findings, the FATF’s review found inadequate precautions to prevent criminals from running casinos and other non-financial businesses and professions designated for special precautions, such as property agents and gems dealers, lawyers and accountants.

It also cited weak supervision of money changers and non-bank financial institutions and mobile financial services providers, whose importance has grown after the army’s seizure of power left many banks barely functioning for a time. But it welcomed progress in addressing the problems.

In its statement, the central bank said Myanmar has an “action plan” for addressing the FATF’s review. It also noted that it was not designated for countermeasures like Iran and North Korea, which are also on the blacklist.

Myanmar had increased its compliance to 24 out of 40 recommendations by the Financial Action Task Force, it said. It said the draft action plan would be implemented in the coming year.

More stringent due diligence precautions for money transfers won’t prevent banks from conducting business, it said.

“Despite the high-risk jurisdictions being subject to a call for action, it is not a risk factor for Myanmar so people need not worry about it,” it said.

It said actions would be taken against currency manipulation and other such “doings that do not comply with the rules and regulations of the Central Bank of Myanmar.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Iran’s national soccer team receives subdued welcome home

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran’s national soccer team received a subdued welcome home after its World Cup defeat against the United States, a match played against the backdrop of ongoing anti-government protests in Iran. The players returned to Iran late Wednesday, a day their 1-0 loss. Anti-government protesters, considering the team a symbol of the regime, […]
3 hours ago
A child wearing a face mask and riding on a scooter passes by a worker in protective suit on his wa...
Associated Press

China eases some virus controls, searches pedestrians

BEIJING (AP) — More Chinese cities eased some anti-virus restrictions as police patrolled their streets to head off protests Thursday while the ruling Communist Party prepared for the high-profile funeral of late leader Jiang Zemin. Guangzhou in the south, Shijiazhuang in the north, Chengdu in the southwest and other major cities announced they were easing […]
3 hours ago
Professor Sean Turnell and his wife Dr. Ha Vu attend Question Time in the House of Representatives ...
Associated Press

Australian jailed in Myanmar applauded in Parliament

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Sean Turnell, an Australian economist who spent almost two years imprisoned in Myanmar, received a hero’s welcome Thursday at Australia’s Parliament House where lawmakers rose in a standing ovation and the prime minister praised his courage, optimism and resilience. Turnell, an adviser to Myanmar’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was […]
3 hours ago
FILE - European Council President Charles Michel arrives to meet with European Union foreign policy...
Associated Press

China’s Xi urges Ukraine talks in meeting with EU’s Michel

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping urged negotiations on a political solution to the Ukraine conflict in talks with visiting European Council President Charles Michel in Beijing Thursday, state broadcaster CCTV said. Xi was quoted as saying that “solving the Ukrainian crisis through political means is in the best interest of Europe and the […]
3 hours ago
Witalij Miskow, 45, speaks about his mental trauma at a clinic which treats veterans for PTSD, post...
Associated Press

‘Do something:’ Ukraine works to heal soldiers’ mental scars

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Sleep plunges the soldier back into the horrors of Ukraine’s battlefields. He can hear bombs falling again and picture explosions. He imagines himself frantically running, trying to save himself and others. The nightmares are so vivid and frightening that he pleads with his doctor for help. “It will blow my mind,” […]
3 hours ago
A woman uses her phone in front of monitors showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm w...
Associated Press

Asian shares gain after Fed chair signals slower rate hikes

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares advanced in Europe and Asia on Thursday after a rally on Wall Street spurred by the Federal Reserve chair’s comments on easing the pace of interest rate hikes to tame inflation. Signs that China may be shifting its approach to containing COVID-19 outbreaks to focus more on vaccinations, while some cities […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Myanmar downplays blacklisting by money laundering watchdog