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THAILAND CRACKS DOWN ON CRYPTO-BASED MONEY LAUNDERING

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Thailand responds to ever-growing money laundering with cryptocurrencies with plans of a state-owned crypto wallet. 

Finally, enforcement agencies are recognizing and tackling the massive money laundering activities in the crypto-scene. It’s an open secret that Bitcoin & Co have developed into the preferred money laundering currency for criminal networks and their activities.

To efficiently tackle crypto-based money laundering the Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) is considering creating its own digital wallet, an official said at a Bangkok event last week.

We have discussed launching our own ‘AMLO Wallet’ to hold or confiscate digital currency from illegal sources,Witthaya Neetitham, secretary of AMLO, at a seminar on the legal system and cryptocurrency crime, said. Neetitham said the wallet would allow the agency to seize proceeds of crime held as digital assets. Currently, Thai law only enables the confiscation of physical assets and hence cybercriminals arrested in the country have seen their digital assets left intact.

The AMLO announcement comes less than a week since the executive director of the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ), Kittipong Kittayarak, revealed that crypto-related crime will be rising significantly in the Asian country in the years to come.

Cybercrime is forecast to grow rapidly on a global scale, with losses worldwide already topping US$600 billion, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). According to UNODC the economic cost and other damage from cybercrime to Asian alone ranges somewhere between $120 million and $200 million.

“We need to hurry. Thailand is a haven for money laundering that finances terrorism,” said Pol Colonel Pisal Erb-Arb, deputy commander of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau.


Image Source: Braden Jarvis – Unsplash

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