#MYANMAR #BURMA #investigating #sales of #shares in #Asia #Green #Development (AGD)
22.8.2014 The financial investigation unit of the National Police Force is investigating sales of shares in Asia Green Development (AGD) to Aye Ne Win for possible connections to money laundering, Colonel Kyaw Win Thein, deputy commander of the unit said on August 21.
Five other cases are being investigated for possible laundering of drug-trade money through real estate transactions, he told a meeting on the new Anti-Money Laundering Law held at the office of the Myanmar Banks Association.
The investigations have yet to advance to the stage of interrogations, he said. “We are investigating and we have not finished that stage yet. We can’t make what we know public at this time, but we have submitted reports to officials,” he told the bankers.
Kyaw Win Thein said the investigation into Aye Ne Win’s share purchase began before reports appeared about the shocking transactions in journals and newspapers. Police cannot say more publicly due to their code of conduct which mandates respect for privacy and the rights of those under investigation, the colonel said.
The five cases of alleged laundering of funds earned from the narcotic trade through real- estate transactions could be the tip of the iceberg, analysts have said, point to the swift fluctuations in prices of real estate in the country over the past few years as a possible option for laundering money earned from criminal activity.
In Myanmar, people commonly refer to “black” and “white” money to distinguish between funds gained from criminal activities and those gained from legitimate business.
Under the new law to combat money laundering, authorities are closely monitoring those whose monthly savings income exceeds Ks 100 million (about US$100,000). Police estimate that there are about 1,000 people above that threshold, but stress that they have no evidence that these funds are being laundered through banks, Kyaw Win Thein said.
Although the Anti-Money Laundering Law was enacted early this year – it replaced the 2002 Control of Money Laundering Law – the by-laws of the new law have yet to be enacted.
Kyaw Win Thein said it was not necessary to wait for the by-law to begin investigations and take action against suspects.
Aye Ne Win said in July that he had bought 15 per cent of AGD’s shares and had entered into an agreement to purchase another 60 per cent, with a further plan to raise his stake in the bank to 85 per cent within six months. The comments were made in an interview in the July 20 issues of The Messenger, a weekly journal.
Aye Ne Win is the grandson of former dictator General Ne Win, raising questions about where Aye Ne Win obtained money for his share purchase.
The Central Bank of Myanmar scrutinises share purchases and it will take at least one and a half months for the process to be complete, Aye Ne Win said, adding that the 85 per cent target was a plan.
AGD is owned by crony Tay Za. He said he will reconsider the share sale, but Aye Ne Win said the agreement had already been made. CR. ELEVEN MEDIA