Money laundering and civil forfeiture regime: Malaysian experience

Author:Anusha Aurasu, Aspalella A. Rahman
Position:Centre for Pre-University Studies, Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Pages:337-345
SUMMARY

Purpose Money laundering is a complex issue which has been ongoing for many years globally. Developed and developing countries form anti-money laundering regime in the view to combat these ever-challenging criminal activities. Laundering of money involves the hiding and cleaning of “dirty money” derived from unlawful activities. Malaysia has come up with its own regime of anti-money laundering. Anti-Money... (see full summary)

 
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Money laundering and civil
forfeiture regime:
Malaysian experience
Anusha Aurasu
Centre for Pre-University Studies, Tunku Abdul Rahman University
College, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and
Aspalella A. Rahman
School of Law, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Alor Star, Malaysia
Abstract
Purpose – Money laundering is a complex issue which has been ongoing for many years globally.
Developed and developing countries form anti-money laundering regime in the view to combat these
ever-challenging criminal activities. Laundering of money involves the hiding and cleaning of “dirty
money” derived from unlawful activities. Malaysia has come up with its own regime of anti-money
laundering. Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (AMLATFA) provides
power to forfeit proceeds at the end of proceedings. This paper aims to investigate whether the current
civil forfeiture regime in Malaysia is effective in ghting against money laundering.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper will be based on a doctrinal research where reliance
will mainly be on relevant case laws and legislations. AMLATFA is the primary legislation which will
be utilised for the purpose of analysis.
Findings – Despite the enactment of AMLATFA, little study has been carried out on the effectiveness
of civil forfeiture regime under Malaysian anti-money laundering laws. Furthering into forfeiture of
criminal proceeds, the ndings show that forfeiture provisions are the recent law enforcement strategy
to ght against crimes. It is implicit that this strategy is more efcient than the conventional approach,
which only focused on punishing the individual criminal but failed to diminish the criminal operations
as a whole.
Originality/value Strengths and weaknesses of AMLATFA are identied where it is less
comprehensive in terms of offences covered and standard of proof. With that, this paper analyses the
civil forfeiture regime under the Malaysian anti-money laundering laws. This paper would also offer
some guiding principles for academics, banks, their legal advisers, practitioners and policymakers, not
only in Malaysia but also elsewhere. Anti-money laundering laws can further be improved by being a
better and established civil forfeiture regime where Malaysia will be able to discharge its duties well on
forfeiting benets from criminals.
Keywords Malaysia, Money laundering, Civil forfeiture, AMLATFA, Criminal proceeds
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
Money laundering is regarded as a form of crime, whereby it facilitates criminals in
having the benet of hiding the proceeds without being traced and prosecuted. As such,
money laundering is, indeed, a process where criminals use a variety of methods in
legalising “dirty money” which has been obtained from illegal activities, and those
methods involve nancial, accounting and legal tools. Money laundering is typically
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/1368-5201.htm
Civil forfeiture
regime
337
Journalof Money Laundering
Control
Vol.19 No. 4, 2016
pp.337-345
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
1368-5201
DOI 10.1108/JMLC-08-2015-0033

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