In a press release published by the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh on Monday, the country applauded Cambodia’s stance on transnational crimes as well as its promulgation of an anti-money laundering law and a law on combating proliferation financing.
The praise came after King Norodom Sihamoni in late June promulgated the two laws, which went into effect immediately.
The press release said: “The enactment of the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism laws represents a significant milestone for the Cambodian government and its people.”
Australian ambassador to Cambodia Pablo Kang said: “It is also a proud and historic moment in the bilateral relationship between our two countries, as we have worked in partnership to strengthen these laws together.”
The press release said Australia’s Department of Home Affairs and its attorney general’s department worked closely with Cambodian officials to improve the legislative framework to address transnational crime, and have offered technical drafting advice for these laws since 2018.
It said as a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, Cambodia had committed to establishing legislative frameworks to counter proliferation financing.
Under the new laws, Cambodia would be able to implement targeted financial sanctions to deprive proliferation financiers of their funds, which will protect Cambodians from the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
With these laws, Cambodia will also be better positioned to ensure that criminals cannot evade prosecution because the evidence or proceeds of their crimes are in different countries. This will create safer communities and a more secure region, the press release said.
Kang said as a long-standing and reliable bilateral partner, he was pleased that Australia could work with Cambodian counterparts to develop these important legal frameworks.
The assistant secretary of the Transnational Crime Policy Branch of the Department of Home Affairs, Dan Mossop, said Australia looked forward to continuing its engagement with Cambodia on transnational crime issues to promote greater security and stability in the region.
An Australian embassy spokesperson told The Post on Tuesday that the country was pleased to work with Cambodia on the development of these laws and looks forward to ongoing cooperation in this area, including on the implementation of the laws.
The spokesperson said: “Australia and Cambodia have a long-standing programme of cooperation in law enforcement which is beneficial to both of our countries.”
Government spokesperson Phay Siphan thanked Australia for assisting Cambodia by sending experts to help in drafting the two laws.
“This is solidarity in combating international financial crimes. Cambodia is very happy to have these laws. We are implementing the conditions and principles of the Financial Action Task Force [FATF],” he said.
Last year, the FATF put Cambodia back on its grey list after it unanimously voted to remove it in January 2015. In May, the EU listed Cambodia and 11 other countries as states with financial risk.
Siphan said Cambodia was back on the FATF’s grey list because it enforced new conditions and principles. He expects Cambodia to be removed from the list as a result of the two new laws.
“The reason Cambodia was placed on the grey list is that it [FATF] created many new conditions and principles. We have fulfilled them to prevent financial crimes from happening.
“Therefore we have responded to their new conditions and I strongly believe that we will not be on the grey list. We have updated measures against anti-money laundering and financial crimes as set in its principles,” he said.