Vietnam’s increased integration into regional and global economies has indeed created opportunities for international money laundering offenses. Various channels, such as bank accounts, securities trading, gambling, illicit movement of foreign currency, and credit card usage, have been utilized for money laundering operations. The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and other authorities in Vietnam have recognized the significance of combating money laundering and have made it a high priority.

Based on a report by the SBV, suspicious transactions amounted to VND51,000 billion in 2012, VND79,000 billion in 2013, and VND119,000 billion in 2014. These escalating figures highlight the concerning increase in questionable money laundering activities.

In response to this growing issue, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has requested that the State Bank of Vietnam consider updating the existing Money Laundering Prevention and Control Law, which was enacted in 2012. This move reflects the government’s commitment to addressing the challenges posed by money laundering effectively.

The State Bank has announced its efforts towards developing a new anti-money laundering law that specifically targets e-wallet services, virtual currencies, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, and pawn services. The focus on these sectors is crucial due to the increasing popularity and utilization of virtual currencies like Bitcoin, which are traded as “securities” on virtual currency exchanges. Vietnam has seen significant participation from domestic and international investors in these virtual currencies.

By incorporating provisions related to e-wallet services, virtual currencies, P2P lending, and pawn services, the new anti-money laundering law aims to enhance the regulatory framework and enable authorities to better address money laundering risks in these areas. This proactive approach by the State Bank of Vietnam signifies the government’s commitment to strengthening its anti-money laundering measures and combating financial crimes effectively.

The Penal Code in Vietnam underwent amendments on January 1, 2018, which included revisions to the crime of money laundering and introduced criminal liability for legal entities involved in such activities. Vietnam has established legislative standards for Know Your Customer (KYC) and Suspicious Transaction Reports (STR). To ensure consistency in reported data, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) introduced standardized forms for STRs; however, the system is not yet online, so local banks are required to submit printed copies of the reports.

Although Vietnam theoretically aligns with current international standards, particularly regarding its legislative framework, there is still room for improvement in terms of financial supervision for anti-money laundering (AML) efforts. Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and KYC processes within domestic banks must be enhanced and effectively implemented. Regulations concerning the updating of client information in other countries are limited and poorly enforced.