The Lower House financial development committee will add bylaws to the Anti-Money Laundering Law to prevent the inflow of dirty money from China, its chairperson, Win Myint, said on August 28.

Win Myint said the Ministry of Home Affairs was drafting the bylaw for the law, which passed Parliament on March 14.

It is widely believed that dirty money from China is being laundered through Myanmar’s property market.
“The government will prevent the laundering of dirty money from China in Myanmar’s real-estate market as the public has requested,” Win Myint said. “If Parliament’s law does not cover this, the committee will fill it in. The media should also provide any information it digs up [on this crime]. The committee is collecting data,” Win Myint said.

The new Anti-Money Laundering Law replaces out-of-date legislation and was drafted to meet international standards as the crime is international in scope.

Win Myint said there was no resistance to the new law in the legislative branch, and that Lower House speaker Thura Shwe Mann had recently meet with the financial development committee to discuss it.
“Parliament approved the law. The president has signed it. Additionally, a central committee for combatting money laundering was formed,” Win Myint said.

“This is what the public wants in the country,” he said, adding that some tycoons were evading paying tax because they could not show where their money came from.

He said President Thein Sein had ordered the new committee to combat money laundering to investigate this issue.

Internationally, money laundering takes many forms, but in Myanmar it is believed to primarily involved investing money derived from criminal activities – mainly the narcotics trade – into the real estate market or gold. Money laundering is reportedly fuelling inflation in Myanmar and causing property prices to skyrocket.

The real-estate market has been distorted by an influx of cash derived from drug smuggling, illegal logging, illegal gems trading and corruption, experts have said.

Real-estate agents say that Chinese nationals are buy land at inflated prices in Tontay, Kyimyintaing and Seikkyi Kanaungto townships, which are included in the massive Yangon new city project. As a consequence, land prices are surging in the area and this is having a ripple effect on prices elsewhere, real-estate professionals say.