Mr. Thomas Hung Tran, a Forensic and Financial Crime expert, believes that laundered crime money is already circulating in society and used under cover of investors in our developing economy. In Vietnam, such activity can easily lie untraced. For instance, in one southwestern region, officials discovered a conspiracy to launder and legitimize almost USD 200 million.
The strategy of most emerging countries is to strengthen and develop their financial markets. This is the right economic development strategy, because only when the financial market reaches a certain level of development, then capital sources from business owners and investors can be effectively circulated to subjects wishing to use capital, which then creates favorable conditions for technology transfer, and more brainpower. However, this strategy also attracts financial criminals who understand the capital needs in emerging markets, as well as the measures to identify and defend against financial crime. This is a problem in many emerging countries.
The nature of the financial market is to benefit the national economy and its people. However, if investors are professional money launderers, it can be very dangerous for the economy, because money laundering criminals are not interested in the development of the economy, but only interested in their own gains. Their operations can hamper the development of financial markets, through creating erosion in transparency and market integrity. Therefore, if Vietnam does not have a solution to prevent money laundering right now, it will soon be easy for money laundering groups to flourish and grow.
According to Mr. Thomas Hung Tran, Vietnamese banks are almost incapable of identifying and defending financial crimes. Assuming Vietnam's financial markets and the economy have developed to a large scale by 2030, then the US and the EU will no longer consider Vietnam as a small country. They will take measures to impose sanctions on individuals, businesses, financial institutions and governments, if Vietnam is known as a haven for money laundering. Sanctions are implemented by restricting or prohibiting financial business transactions, creating many constraints for governments and businesses to decide on policies and strategies. This will seriously affect Vietnam's strategy to become a financial hub, where capital and transactions have to flow two-ways from outside into the economy and vice versa.
The solution to this problem is to set up a specialized agency in charge of financial conduct and monitor and manage functions that create premises for financial crimes. Laws must be amended or supplemented for the prevention of financial crimes and related corruption. At the same time, Vietnam must work closely with assessment organizations and international financial crime prevention organizations to curtail further crimes and form effective policies.