Cablegate: Transnational Crime in Vietnam - Hcmc Consulates General

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

300139Z Mar 05





Department for DS/IP/EAP, EAP/BCLTV and INL

E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Key Ho Chi Minh City consulates met March 23 for the
second quarterly, informal discussion of transnational crime
issues. Australia National Police rep has organized this group in
an effort to foster law enforcement cooperation between key
countries and Vietnam. Participation includes consuls general and
officers responsible for law enforcement from the consulates of
Thailand, UK, Canada, France, Australia and the United States.
CG, RSO and DHS/ICE attache attended the meeting at the Thai
consulate, which covered narcotics, money laundering and human

2. (SBU) Money Laundering: Australian Federal Police rep said
that Vietnam receives approximately USD three billion annually in
remittances via wire transfer. The Australians estimate that
perhaps 10 percent of this total represents profits from illegal
activity to be banked or laundered in Vietnam. Australia finds
that the GVN is keenly interested in increasing remittances but is
not interested in the source of the funds. This gives organized
crime a good opportunity to launder "proceeds of crime." AFP rep
observed that while there was no evidence of terrorist networks
laundering funds in Vietnam, the ease of doing so made it likely
that this could, or would occur. Australian rep noted that he
would be focusing on money laundering over the next twelve months.
Several participants observed that the WTO accession process
provides an opportunity to press Vietnam to implement anti-money
laundering (AML) measures. (Comment: Embassy Hanoi has been
working with a number of GVN interlocutors for nearly a year on
AML. At this point, a major obstacle to improved cooperation is
the GVN's failure to issue its AML decree, which would designate
the lead agency on this issue. A number of donors are working on
this issue in Hanoi. End comment.) Australia observed that UNODC
has an on-going project with the State Bank of Vietnam.

3. (SBU) Narcotics: Australia's efforts to share narcotics
intelligence with the GVN is yielding some results and has helped
to reduce heroin smuggling from Vietnam into Australia. AFP rep
said there was no indication that any information provided to the
Vietnamese had been leaked. The Australians also said that they
are establishing two document fraud laboratories and providing
training at the airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. French
gendarmerie rep noted problems with legal prescription drugs from
France being illegally smuggled into Vietnam. He also mentioned
that France has had some success in interdicting Vietnamese
traveling to France with illegal documentation for purposes of

4. (SBU) Comment: The Australian CG founded this informal group
to support Australian Federal Police efforts to advance law
enforcement cooperation with Vietnam. The local AFP rep appears
to be making steady if slow progress in working with GVN law
enforcement counterparts and is prepared to assist and support law
enforcement efforts by United States and others. AFP's view of
the ease and potential volume of laundering "proceeds for crime"
is worrisome. Most of theGVN-reported USD three to four billion
in annual remittances to Vietnam appear to be effected by wire
transfer or by physically carrying cash. Knowledgeable bankers
have told us that the formal and informal money transfer system
can deliver cash (to the recipients' home) in Vietnam within hours
of deposit in the United States with few, if any, questions asked.

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