The U.S. tax collection agency is this week training Cambodian bank staff as well as anti-corruption officials, police, judges and prosecutors in how to investigate financial activity to detect wrongdoing, officials said Monday.
U.S. Embassy spokesman Sean McIntosh said the program, called Intermediate Financial Investigations Training, was being conducted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
“IRS officials are providing a week-long training for officials from private banks, the Anti-Corruption Unit, Ministry of Justice, Cambodian National Police, and the Cambodian Securities and Exchange Commission to work together in detecting and investigating financial crimes,” Mr. McIntosh said in an email.
The tax agency, which is part of the U.S. Treasury Department, has been conducting this training since 2010, he said.
National police spokesman Kirth Chantharith confirmed that police officials were taking part in the training, which he said would help them to detect money laundering.
“Police are limited regarding the techniques and the tracing of information. They have more to learn,” he said.
Sam Pracheameanith, chief of the Ministry of Justice’s cabinet, said some judges and prosecutors had been selected to attend the training in order to improve their capacity to oversee financial crime investigations and cases.
“They have been trained in this before, but they are getting more training to strengthen our human resources,” he said.
“Criminals have new techniques, so we have to learn to catch up with them.”
In March, officials including staff at the National Bank of Cambodia’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) received similar training on detecting money laundering, funded by the British Embassy and provided by the U.K. International Governance and Risk Institute, or GovRisk.
GovRisk warned at the time that rapid economic growth in Cambodia would make the country more attractive to money launderers.
A report from the U.S. State Department, also in March, said corruption and the weakness of Cambodia’s judicial system mean the country is vulnerable to criminals seeking to launder illicitly sourced money.
“Cash proceeds from crime are readily channeled into land, housing, luxury goods, and other forms of property without passing through the formal banking sector,” the report says.
The State Department’s report recommended that the government should “increase the capability of the nascent and understaffed FIU.”