VZCZCXRO2283 PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH DE RUEHKL #2263 3460256 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 120256Z DEC 06 FM AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR TO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASH DC PRIORITY RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8110 INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHKL/ISLAMIC CONFERENCE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
1. (U) This is an action request. Please see paragraph 4.
2. (U) Econoff met with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM --
Malaysia's central bank) Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)
Director Jeremy Lee and Deputy Director Yusof Sulong to
deliver reftel demarche and provide a copy of the names and
backgrounds of the designated persons and entities.
3. (U) In response to Econoff's questions about whether
Malaysia considered Hizballah a terrorist organization and
what Malaysia's response would be to the U.S. domestic
designation in light of UNSCR 1373, Sulong replied that the
Government of Malaysia had made a determination that
Hizballah was a legitimate political party, not a terrorist
organization; therefore, UNSCR 1373 did not apply. He
further described the language of UNSCR 1373 as "vague" and
pointed out that, since it included no list of designees, it
was not actionable. Lee explained that Malaysia had decided
to abide by the determination of the United Nations, and if
at some point the UN designated Hizballah as a terrorist
organization, Malaysia likely would reconsider its position.
He expressed concern about whether to accept U.S.
designations in general when we are unable to provide
comprehensive information about our intelligence. He was
very interested in finding out more about how other countries
treat U.S. domestic designations.
4. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST: Post requests further information
on 1) how many/which countries consider Hizballah a terrorist
organization, and 2) examples of countries designating
persons and/or entities in response to a U.S. designation.
This information could encourage the GoM to be more proactive
in designating terrorists or terrorist financiers without
waiting for the UN to do so.
5. (SBU) Regarding the 11 new designees, Lee said the list
would be distributed to all financial reporting agencies
immediately. While the FIU has no authority to freeze their
assets, Malaysia's definition of "suspicious" transactions is
expansive -- the fact that a person or entity is on the U.S.
list will encourage closer scrutiny. Due to Malaysia's
secrecy laws, the GoM will not be able to share information
with us on every suspicious transaction; however, the
designees will be watched closely for possible breaches of
Malaysia's Anti-Money Laundering Act.