MANILA, March 26 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is ramping up its efforts to help countries in the Asia-Pacific combat money laundering and terrorism financing, according to ADB's Office of Anticorruption and Integrity (OAI) 2017 Annual Report released on Monday.
ADB's support in anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) include a 2-million-U.S. dollar technical assistance grant approved in December 2016, as well as steps to improve the countries' overall compliance to anti-money laundering policies through closer coordination between relevant parties, such as banks and financial institutions, and governments.
"ADB remains a steadfast partner of countries in the Asia and Pacific region in fighting corruption and money laundering, and improving governance," said John Versantvoort, head of OAI.
The report highlights some of the efforts ADB, through OAI, has implemented over the past year, particularly in increasing its knowledge sharing activities.
In 2017, ADB helped the Philippines strengthen regulations to combat money laundering, which now include casinos under the Anti-Money Laundering Law.
ADB also held a training session for local officials to better understand money laundering and terrorism financing in the casino sector.
In Mongolia, ADB is helping the government roll out a program that would support local banks, money service businesses, such as pawnshops and remittance companies, as well as real estate agents develop anti-money laundering and customer due diligence programs.
In addition, ADB is helping Bhutan and Papua New Guinea address vulnerabilities in AML/CFT, strengthen both countries' policies, and improve their implementation.
ADB's anticorruption and integrity drive, both on enforcement and prevention, remained robust last year, according to the report, with 30 firms and 22 individuals debarred for integrity violations, along with cross-debarment for 153 firms and 36 individuals.
Last year, ADB also increased outreach to the broader public about its anticorruption efforts, conducting 41 training sessions for audit institutions, anticorruption commissions, executing and implementing agencies, money service businesses, non-bank financial institutions, civil society, and the private sector.
As part of its efforts to champion integrity within ADB, OAI launched a mandatory e-learning course, called Anticorruption and Respect at Work, for ADB staff in May 2017, while conducting 68 staff training sessions with 1,436 participants last year.