by Feng Yingqiu
YANGON, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar is stepping up fight against money laundering and terrorism financing as part of the work procedure of the Asia/Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering to which Myanmar is a member since 2006.
The drive includes mutual evaluation in the members, the amendment of the anti-money laundering law and the formation of a working committee for mutual evaluation in the members in 2016.
Myanmar formed the anti-money laundering central committee in August 2014, chaired by Minister of Home Affairs Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, in a bid to effectively combat money laundering.
During the one-year period of the incumbent government which took office in April last year, probes were taken into 93 cases related with money laundering, of which 56 cases were completed, while 15 cases are under investigation.
Tasked to formulate policies on anti-money laundering and combating financial support for terrorism, the central committee is also cooperating with international and regional organizations and neighboring countries in fight money laundering, exchanging information on financial intelligence relating to money laundering.
Following the enactment of Anti-Money Laundering Law in March 2014, Myanmar's anti-money laundering central committee has sought international cooperation to combat transnational money laundering cases, seek to sign agreements with more countries and regions in addition to seven nations with which the body already initiated memorandums of understanding (MoU) to exchange information of transnational money laundering and to prevent both inflows and outflows of dirty money.
Myanmar has so far cooperated with Thailand, Indonesia and Australia in combating money laundering and financial terrorism.
Myanmar has not become a member of the Egmont Group, an alliance of 139 Financial Intelligence Units (FIU) around the world formed in 1995.
The Egmont Group is to provide a forum for FIUs around the world to improve cooperation in the fight against money laundering and the financial support for terrorism, and to foster the implementation of domestic programs in this field.
Myanmar is also seeking expertise and technical aids from international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) to fight against money laundering and exchange information on financial intelligence relating to money laundering.
Meanwhile, the Myanmar authorities are moving on its process in combating money laundering cases through pilot projects to collect data on money laundering nationwide.
According to reports, over 70 money laundering cases were exposed in the 12 years from 2003 to 2014, amounting to nearly 200 million U.S. dollars mostly from drug related cases.