Scope of Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Act Expanded Following 2013 Amendments

Fourth Set of Amendments to Thai Anti-Money Laundering Act

Amendments to the Thai Anti-Money Laundering Act ("AMLA") were published in the Government Gazette on 1 February 2013 and became effective on 2 February 2013. Generally, the amendments aim to expand the AMLA's scope of application and set out additional duties on the Anti-Money Laundering Board and Anti-Money Laundering Office.

The AMLA was promulgated in 1999 and had been amended three times. This update covers the fourth set of amendments.

Background & Context

Thai anti-money laundering laws are aimed at the laundering of money or property derived from the commission of a "predicate offense" as defined in the AMLA. The AMLA imposes due diligence and reporting obligations on government entities, financial institutions and various other parties to report, among others, suspicious activities. An overview of the Anti-Money Laundering Act can be found here.

Summary of Changes

Key aspects of the amendments include:

§  Expansion predicate offenses: The definition of “predicate offenses” has been expanded to include the offenses relating to:

§  membership in secret societies or participation in organized crime;

§  receiving stolen property;

§  falsifying or counterfeiting currency, stamps and bills;

§  forgery or violation of intellectual property or other violations of intellectual property laws;

§  forgery of title deeds, electronic cards or passports;

§  exploitation of natural resources;

§  life-threatening injury or serious bodily harm for the purpose of obtaining benefits (in the form of property);

§  confinement or detention for benefit;

§  theft, extortion, blackmail, robbery, cheating, fraud or embezzlement;

§  piracy;

§  unfair practices in connection with securities trading; and

§  weapons or weapons equipment and accessories that are or may be used in warfare.

Extraterritorial effects: The scope of application of the AMLA has been expanded to include predicate offenses, as defined by the AMLA, committed outside of Thailand.

§  Expansion of the definitions of “suspicious transaction” and “property connected with the commission of an offense”: The definitions of a “suspicious transaction” and “property connected with the commission of an offense” have been amended to include the financing of terrorism.

§  Additional duty of the Anti-Money Laundering Board:The Anti-Money Laundering Board now has the duty to determine the principles and procedures for evaluating whether transactions entered into by government agencies or activities that are not subject to reporting requirements are at risk of money laundering.

§  Protection of witnesses: Witnesses will now have the right to protection under Thai criminal law.

§  Additional duties of the Anti-Money Laundering Office: The duties of the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) have been amended to include the following::

§  receiving or sending reports or information in compliance with the AMLA or agreements entered into between other agencies, both within and outside of Thailand;

§  determining the procedures and examining and evaluating compliance with the AMLA by the entities which have reporting obligations under the AMLA; and

§ gathering and compiling information and statistics, examining, monitoring and evaluating the execution of the AMLA and analyzing reports and information relating to transactions, and evaluating the risks relating to money laundering or the financing of terrorism.

§ Assistance from the Department of Special Investigation: The AMLO may ask for assistance of the Department of Special Investigation in AMLA investigations and the gathering of evidence of AMLA offenses.

§ Reduced punishment for minor offenses:  Minor offenses, such as non-compliance with reporting obligations, filing of false reports and failure to cooperate with investigations, may now be settled by payment of a fine.

By Nualporn Satawiriya

Last updated on 13 June 2013