Crypto Exchanges Included In New Thailand AML Law

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Thailand to Bring Cryptocurrency Under Anti-Money Laundering Rules

Daniel Palmer

Thailand to Bring Cryptocurrency Under Anti-Money Laundering Rules

Thailand’s anti-money laundering regulator is planning to amend the country’s laws to include cryptocurrency.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, Police Major General Preecha Charoensahayanon, secretary-general of the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo), said he believes that, while currently not an issue, cryptocurrency “will be a tool of new money laundering.”

Preecha said that Amlo currently does not receive complaints around money laundering involving cryptocurrencies, but warned:

“We may not find any clue, but that doesn’t mean the wrongdoing does not occur.”

The secretary-general argued that criminals will increasingly turn to digital assets to conceal their ill-gotten proceeds.

To prepare for this shift, he told the Bangkok Post he plans to alter the country’s laws to bring cryptos into the AML regime, starting with the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Preecha indicated would add a rule requiring cryptocurrency exchange platforms to report activities to the Amlo, adding that such information is crucial to track laundered money over the internet.

The legal changes would corresponds with international standards on crypto exchange service providers, he said.

Thailand is a member nation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – an international money-laundering watchdog – which recently issued recommendations that cryptocurrency platforms monitor and report suspicious transactions.

It also included a controversial requirement that “virtual asset service providers” (VASPs), including crypto exchanges, pass information about their customers to one another when transferring funds between firms.

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FATF further proposed that member countries should consider mandating that exchange providers to register with relevant authorities.

Bangkok image via Shutterstock

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Thailand to Introduce New Cryptocurrency Anti-Money-Laundering Policies

In This Article

The country of Thailand plans to introduce new anti-money-laundering policies to tie into their already established cryptocurrency laws and regulations. The goal is to prevent fraud while providing a framework for companies to take advantage of digital assets.

Pol Maj Gen Preecha Charoensahayanon, the acting secretary-general of Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo,) spoke to local publication the Bangkok Post regarding the changes. There, Preecha had said that these rules are coming because they need to “brace for” emerging technologies and digital assets.

Interestingly, the space doesn’t receive many complaints regarding cryptocurrencies, but it doesn’t want to ignore them. “We may not find any clue, but that doesn’t mean the wrongdoing does not occur,” he says. He already knows that cryptocurrencies are “a tool of new money laundering.”

These new changes will append to the already established Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act but just apply to cryptocurrency exchanges and associated companies. All of these groups must report to Amlo regarding anything suspicious happening on their platform so they can track and tend to the situation.

It’s also worth noting that these rules would comply with international AML standards that have companies reporting suspicious customers and activities to those in power.

Preecha has been focusing on the space since last year, when a businessman, Prinya Jaravijit, tricked an investor, Aarni Otava Saarimaa, into putting 797 million baht into Bitcoin BUY NOW to buy company shares. Jaravijit took the Bitcoin, leaving Saarimaa helpless.

The Crime Suppression Division handled the case, not Amlo, but Preecha realized that Bitcoin and other assets can be used for scamming. “We have to brace for it,” Preecha says.

Of course, these rules have yet to see approval, but chances are high considering the country has already dealt with cryptocurrency threats. Also, Thailand is a member of the globally spread Financial Action Task Force (FATF,) who just put out that participants should be watching over cryptocurrency platforms and suspicious activity.

What do you think of Thailand’s changes? Will they deter money-laundering and other illegal activities? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Thailand to Tackle Crypto Money Laundering with New Rules

The yet-to-be-approved rules will require crypto exchanges to share the information of users with regulators.

Thailand wants to increase oversight of cryptocurrencies and digital assets by integrating anti-money-laundering rules into the Thai crypto-related laws. The proposed legislation seeks to strengthen the sector’s security and prevent potential fraud, while at the same time offering a set of guidelines on the crypto dealings.

Pol Maj Gen Preecha Charoensahayanon, acting secretary-general of the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo), told local newspaper BangkokPost that cryptocurrency firms will be subjected to rules to prevent the abuse of digital coins for money laundering.

“Criminal will increasingly transform their money into digital currencies such as bitcoins as the virtual format will make it harder for authorities to trace their financial transactions,” he explains.

The yet-to-be-approved rules will require crypto exchanges to share the information of users with regulators, whenever funds are transferred between firms, to curtain a growing number of illicit activities stemming under the guise of the global cryptocurrency industry.

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The Southeast Asian nation has already taken steps toward the adoption of cryptocurrencies, rolling out regulations and guidelines to welcome the business and opportunities that blockchain brings.

Thailand accelerates plans to regulate the crypto scene

The move mirrors a similar regulatory approach at different jurisdictions, including in Europe, Specifically, a pan-European directive, dubbed ‘AMLD5,’ brings crypto exchanges and custodian wallet providers within the scope of EU anti-money laundering rules for the first time. The law imposes registration and customer due diligence requirements that force operators to disclose their traders’ identities and report suspicious activity.

The move also helps Thailand strengthen its position as a hub for the blockchain industry in Asia. The country has already been one of the early adopters of cryptocurrency legislation in order to appeal to those who seek “regulatory havens” in light of China’s ban and increased scrutiny in Russia, Europe, and the US.

Under the country’s current regulatory framework, separate licenses are required for cryptocurrency and digital tokens where a crypto firm can apply for a license to operate an exchange or a brokerage business.

Earlier this year, the Thai regulator has approved four new crypto exchanges to operate in the country including Bx, Bitkub, Coins, and Satang Pro. The subsidiary of global crypto platform Huobi was also approved last month as a licensed broker and dealer in cryptocurrencies. The deal has been hailed as a major step forward for the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies in Thailand.

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