Overview of Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Laws

The Thai Anti-Money Laundering Act B.E. 2542 (1999), as amended in 2009 (AMLA), forms the core of Thailand’s anti-money laundering law. As in many other jurisdictions, the Thai laws concerning money laundering are in their early stages of development and continue to be modified as money laundering activities are better understood. The primary Thai government agency responsible for regulating and enforcing Thailand’s anti-money laundering laws is the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO), but other Thai government agencies are involved, such as the Ministry of Finance, the Securities Exchange Commission, the Bank of Thailand and the Office of the National Counter Corruption Commission. Many of these agencies have supplemented the existing legislation with their own requirements and guidelines for entities which fall within their purview. In addition, new anti-money laundering regulations are issued periodically.

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. Predicate offenses include, among others, crimes relating to narcotics, public corruption and terrorism. The Thai government largely relies on the private sector to assist it in enforcing its anti-money laundering laws. Thai anti-money laundering laws impose due diligence and reporting requirements on government entities, financial institutions and various other parties (Regulated Parties).

For new customers, Regulated Parties are required to obtain and verify detailed information independent and reliable sources. Regulated Parties also have an ongoing responsibility to monitor the activities of their existing customers and report suspicious activities to the AMLO.

Simplified customer due diligence measures may be performed if the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing is low and the customer is already subject to governmental supervision under Thai anti-money laundering laws. A Regulated Party must document such simplified customer due diligence measures and provide them to AMLO and other agencies when requested to do so.

Enhanced customer due diligence measures are required when a customer or its ultimate beneficial owner or ultimate controlling person is considered to be a member of high risk group (for example, Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) or persons from non-cooperative countries or territories). Regulated Parties are required to implement internal policies and procedures to determine if a customer falls within a high risk group and obtain approval from senior management prior to commencing a business relationship with such customer. Such enhanced customer due diligence measures include identifying that person’s source of funding and conducting enhanced monitoring of that customer’s business activities.

In addition to these know your customer requirements, Regulated Parties are required to report certain transactions to the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO). For example, when a transaction involves cash in an amount equal to or exceeding two million Baht, such information as the nature and date of transaction, type and amount of currency involved and details of payee or beneficiary must be reported to the AMLO.

A failure to comply with Thailand’s anti-money laundering laws can result in both criminal and civil penalties.