Central Bank of Myanmar Governor Than Than Swe said last month Myanmar is making concerted efforts to get off FATF’s watchlist by conducting risk assessment in banks, on-site inspections and off-site monitoring. Image Credit: AP

Paris: The Financial Action Task Force added Myanmar to a group of high-risk countries, known as the ‘black list,’ citing its failure to make enough progress in addressing illicit financial flows.

The failures “were first identified in a report in September 2018; more than four years later many of those issues remain,” said T. Raja Kumar, the president of the FATF, following the decision. “I urge the authorities of Myanmar to swiftly complete their targeted action plan to address the strategic deficiencies identified in the country.”

The Southeast Asian nation joins North Korea and Iran, which have been on the high-risk list since 2020. The inclusion means entities and individuals in Myanmar will face enhanced due diligence from global financial institutions.

In the most serious cases, the FATF would advise countries to apply countermeasures to protect the international financial system from money-laundering and terrorist financing risks from those blacklisted.

Myanmar is already under a range of punitive measures. Western nations led by the US have imposed rounds of sanctions targeting the coup leaders, related business entities as well as a bunch of arms dealers since the 2021 military coup which toppled Aung San Suu Kyi-led civilian government.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said last year banks under its jurisdiction don’t hold “significant funds” from Myanmar companies and individuals. Financial institutions have been placed on “heightened alert in relation to risks emanating from the situation in Myanmar,” the regulator told Bloomberg News in August.