Fri, Aug 09, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Officials trumpet successes fighting money laundering

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Police officials touted their success in fighting money laundering, after confiscating NT$3.688 billion (US$117.59 million) in the first half of the year, while law enforcement agencies launched a networking platform to facilitate investigation of financial crimes.

The National Police Agency (NPA) on Wednesday presented data showing that it had investigated 534 cases of suspected money-laundering over the period, about 100 of which involved channeling illegal proceeds from Taiwan to China.

China was followed by its two special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, as the top three international money laundering destinations, followed by Malaysia in fourth place, while the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam tied for fifth place, the data showed.

The confiscated money was eight times the amount seized during same period last year, NPA data showed.

The progress could be attributed to amendments that were made to the Money Laundering Control Act (洗錢防制法) in June 2017, which loosened certain requirements, enabling police and the judiciary to initiate investigations more easily, said Tsai Pei-ling (蔡佩玲), a prosecutor who heads the policy unit of the Executive Yuan’s Anti-Money Laundering Office.

“After the amendments were passed, judicial investigators had the authority to seize ill-gotten gains, stemming the money flow … which was more difficult to do in the past,” Tsai said.

Meanwhile, the National Taxation Bureau and the Ministry of Justice’s Agency Against Corruption (AAC) yesterday established the “combat money-laundering information platform” in Tainan.

The platform is to serve as a networking tool for the judiciary and law enforcement agencies to enhance the campaign against corruption and money laundering, AAC officials said.

Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥), who was presiding over a seminar on the UN Convention Against Corruption in Taipei on Wednesday, lauded the good work government agencies had done, which enabled Taiwan to pass the third round of a peer review by the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) last month.

“The world can see that Taiwan is determined to fight corruption and money laundering, for which we have received positive endorsement by the APG, showing that we are moving toward the goal of halting corruption and ensuring cleaner governance in Taiwan,” Tsai said.

The APG promoted Taiwan from “enhanced follow-up” to “regular follow-up,” indicating the lowest risk of money laundering.

The Anti-Money Laundering Office said the assessment is expected to boost Taiwan’s chances of participating in international organizations.

Taiwan made it onto the “regular follow-up” list after achieving “substantial” marks on seven of 11 factors used to measure a nation’s effectiveness in fighting money laundering, the office said.

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