Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) is in the process of verifying a report, by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), that four Thai banks have been involved in suspicious financial transactions, worth about 41.31 billion baht, over nearly two decades.
Responding to the ICIJ report, AMLO Acting Secretary-General Pol Maj-Gen Preecha Charoensahayanont said today that checking suspicious financial transactions is a normal practice of AMLO, as he asked for time to verify the report.
The ICIJ’s report refers to files leaked from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in the US. They allegedly indicate that many commercial banks worldwide turned a blind eye to suspicious transactions between 1999 and 2017.
Meanwhile, it is reported that, since the 1997 financial crisis, the Bank of Thailand has demanded information from commercial banks about their credit transactions, for risk analysis of financial institutions and economic stability.
The central bank has not, however, demanded information about financial transfers, but AMLO has been doing the risk analysis of suspicious transactions, particularly “loop” digital banking accounts.
Pol Maj-Gen Preecha said that AMLO can, at best, make observations that some transactions are suspicious, but cannot verify their legitimacy, even with the help of artificial intelligence, because some transactions may look odd but are, in fact, legitimate.
He maintained that AMLO has to verify the international report before inviting representatives of the four Thai banks in for questioning.