Vietnam laws - Lawmakers debate proposed bill on money laundering
Dragon Law Firm — Viet Nam’s plan to fight the flow of "dirty money" was taken a step further with a debate on the introduction of a draft law against money laundering by National Assembly deputies yesterday.
Most agreed the law was necessary to prevent the profits from illegal activities being recycled in accordance with international requirements and a desire to develop a healthy financial market.
According to the State Bank of Viet Nam, which composed the body of the draft law, existing regulations, or Government Decree 74 which has been in effect since 2005, have shortcomings that should be fixed by the new law.
Deputy Cao Si Kiem, representing northern Thai Binh Province, and Luong Van Thanh from northern Hai Phong City said without the law, Viet Nam would become a haven for international money-laundering criminals.
Many deputies thought the law would also demonstrate the country’s commitments in the international fight against corruption.
However, whether financing terrorism should be included in the new law saw different ideas.
Kiem supported the inclusion, explaining that Viet Nam had signed international conventions that stated specific times for it to issue laws on fighting money laundering and financing terrorism.
Others opposed the move because a law on fighting terrorism would be drafted next year.
Deputy Do Van Duong of HCM City argued that to guarantee international commitments, the revised Criminal Code had three articles banning financial aid for terrorism.
Deputy Nguyen Doan Khanh from northern midland Phu Tho Province said money-laundering and terrorism were two different crimes. However, he said if aiding terrorism was included in the new draft law, worries about money laundering would be lessened.
The NA’s Economics Committee, which appraised the draft law, also consented to excluding the financing of terrorism from the law.
However, it said to meet international commitments, there should be an article regulating the relations between the two crimes in the anti-money laundering law.
Deputies also had different opinions regarding which body or agency should be responsible for anti-money laundering activities.
Under the draft law, it would belong to the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV), and the bank’s governor would work out the body’s organisation structure, its tasks and benefits.
Most deputies disapproved. Some suggested that the Ministry of Public Security should take the main responsibility while the SBV should become a co-ordinating agency.
Duong of HCM City argued that money laundering was a crime, so dealing with it should be given to a criminal investigation agency.
Others reasoned that while banks were a main channel for "dirty" money, transactions were often made in cash, gold and valued assets. Therefore, it was suggested, an investigative agency from the Ministry of Public Security would be a more viable solution.
Another HCM City deputy, Truong Trong Nghia, had another viewpoint. He said the fight against money laundering should be carried out by an agency made of specialists from the SBV and ministries of Public Security and Foreign Affairs.
Deputy Duong Trung Quoc from southern Dong Nai Province also said that the agency should be independent, separated from the bank - and that it should even supervise banking activities.
The NA’s Economics Committee agreed to base the agency at the SBV as drafted. It, however, noted that it would work as a co-ordinator only, while anti-money laundering activities should involve various sectors.
The law is expected to be passed next year.
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