Myanmar's military government welcomed Saturday a financial watchdog's decision to remove the country from a list of uncooperative money laundering nations, saying that suppression efforts have paid off.
The Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based intergovernmental group, has removed Myanmar from its blacklist of non-cooperative countries whose systems support money laundering activities.
"We are happy that the FATF recognised the progress we have made," Police Col Sit Aye, head of the Home Affairs Ministry's Transnational Crimes Department, said.
"It took us five to six years to have Myanmar removed from the blacklist and our efforts had paid off."
Sit Aye said despite its lack of facilities and skills, Myanmar took all necessary measures in line with international and FATF compliance standards to implement the money laundering law.
Citing examples of Myanmar's crackdown, Sit Aye said that the private Asia Wealth Bank and Myanmar Mayflower Bank — accused by the United States of money laundering and of being linked to drug traffickers — were deregistered in 2005.
The chairman of the private Myanmar Universal Bank was given a life sentence last year under the money laundering law.
Myanmar's anti-money laundering law, introduced in 2002, gives authorities wide-ranging powers to investigate and seize assets acquired through criminal activities such as trafficking in humans, drugs and weapons.
"As we have been removed from the blacklist, Myanmar will be able to cooperate more closely with international organisations to fight money laundering," Sit Aye said, adding that Myanmar still needs technical assistance and training.
A fact-finding delegation from the Financial Action Task Force, an international cooperative effort to curb money laundering, visited Myanmar in late-September.