Amlo: Big banks facilitating fraud

The head of the Anti-Money Laundering Office on Thursday blamed big commercial banks for failing to check their clients’ backgrounds before opening accounts eventually used for fraud.

Amlo secretary-general Seehanart Prayoonrat said his office is launching legal action against banks nearly every day because they are ignoring his office's earlier call for careful client-profile checks and opening accounts for fraudsters.

He said that the lack of cooperation had resulted in 175 cases of fraud that cost victims more than 100 million baht since last year. This included two long-established banks with large client bases, Mr Seehanart said.

On the other hand, he praised Thanachart Bank for following Amlo's instructions, which saved a Thai woman from losing 350,000 baht to an online swindler.

Mr Seehanart said the fraudster told the woman he was a soldier in Afghanistan and was $1.5 million. However, he claimed, there were no banks in Afghanistan, so he wanted to deposit his windfall in Thailand. He asked her to pay "fees" to facilitate his deposit.

The woman did so by making many transactions worth altogether 350,000 baht to an overseas account of the fraudster through her Thanachart Bank account.

The bank blocked withdrawals as it could not contact the holder of the overseas account. Then the woman complained with the bank but later had to thank it for saving her money, Mr Seehanart said.

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