Cambodian officials will now be better prepared to combat trade-based money laundering, following a training workshop conducted this week by an U.S. expert.

At the three day workshop, U.S. experiences and best practice was shared with 30 participants from the Cambodian General Department of Customs and Excise. Issues examined included trade-based money laundering techniques such as over/under/multiple invoicing of goods; over and under shipment of goods; and false declaration of goods. Discussions also covered more complex techniques that combine financial and trade transactions. In addition, the workshop looked at cash smuggling techniques and collaboration between national authorities sharing a common border.

Mr. Nuon Chanrith, Director of the Department of Planning, Technique and International Affairs, General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia, in his opening remarks said that “Cambodia is one of the newer ASEAN Member States and a rapidly developing country. The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) under the wise leadership of the Samdech Akakmohar Sena Padey Dechor Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia has strong commitments in combating against money laundering as evidenced by the 2007 enactment of the Law on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT Law) and subsequently implementing the regulation on May 2008. This workshop provides essential capacity building to further strengthen the knowledge and detection techniques of the customs officers regarding bulk cash smuggling and money laundering; and will help support in closing the gap with other ASEAN members, in line with the Initiative for ASEAN Integration objectives”.

This is the third in a series of similar workshops in ASEAN aimed at increasing awareness and vigilance in identifying and countering trade-based money laundering. Similar workshops have been held in Laos and Vietnam; both of these countries share borders with Cambodia.

“Developing economies need to be better prepared to address trade-based money laundering especially when their own international trade is growing,” said Mr. David Meisner, course trainer and former U.S treasury official, adding that “thus this training course aims to improve local officials’ understanding of the issues involved in money laundering and the multiple forms it can take, leaving them better placed to identify and combat this type of transnational crime.”

The conference was organized by ASEAN-U.S. Technical Assistance and Training Facility (TATF), in collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat. ASEAN-TATF is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Department of State.