Sin­ga­pore urged to en­hance money laun­der­ing con­trols

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

SIN­GA­PORE: An in­ter­na­tional group that mon­i­tors money laun­der­ing said yes­ter­day that Sin­ga­pore should pur­sue more of­fend­ers in­volved in in­ter­na­tional cases and take more ac­tion to con­fis­cate sus­pi­cious funds mov­ing through the city-state.

“Sin­ga­pore main­tains one of the low­est do­mes­tic crime rates in the world and there­fore the bulk of Sin­ga­pore’s ex­po­sure to ML (money laun­der­ing) risks arises from of­fences com­mit­ted over­seas,” the Fi­nan­cial Ac­tion Task Force (FATF) said in a re­port as­sess­ing Sin­ga­pore ef­forts against money laun­der­ing and to counter the fi­nanc­ing of ter­ror­ism.

The FATF as­sess­ment came amid Sin­ga­pore’s on­go­ing probe into money laun­der­ing of­fences linked to Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Devel­op­ment Ber­had (1MDB), which cast a spot­light on one of the world’s lead­ing wealth man­age­ment cen­tres.

The task force’s ex­am­i­na­tion of Sin­ga­pore was con­ducted in late 2015, sev­eral months be­fore Sin­ga­pore or­dered the shut­down of Swiss pri­vate bank BSI, charged peo­ple in con­nec­tion with the probe and an­nounced the seizure of S$240 mil­lion (RM730.9 mil­lion) worth of as­sets.

The ex­ec­u­tive sum­mary of the task force’s re­port did not men­tion 1MDB.

The Sin­ga­pore gov­ern­ment said in a state­ment that law en­forc­ing agen­cies will strengthen their ca­pa­bil­i­ties to iden­tify and in­ves­ti­gate more money laun­der­ing cases of “com­plex transna­tional” na­ture.

The Paris-based FATF said Sin­ga­pore has a rea­son­able un­der­stand­ing of its money laun­der­ing risks and had taken steps to mit­i­gate them, but some gaps re­main.

The task force said fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions gen­er­ally demon­strated a rea­son­ably good un­der­stand­ing of money laun­der­ing risks im­pact­ing do­mes­tic clients, but a less de­vel­oped un­der­stand­ing of risk of il­licit flows into and out of Sin­ga­pore.

It said Sin­ga­pore should strengthen its anti-money laun­der­ing regime for pre­cious stones and met­als deal­ers.

In July, Sin­ga­pore au­thor­i­ties said that as part of its 1MDB-re­lated probe it found prob­lems at three banks, top lo­cal lender DBS Group Hold­ings Ltd; UBS AG, the world’s largest pri­vate bank; and Stan­dard Char­tered.

An on­site in­spec­tion of an­other Swiss bank, Fal­con PBS, owned by one of the world’s lead­ing sov­er­eign wealth funds – Abu Dhabi’s In­ter­na­tional Petroleum In­vest­ment Com­pany (IPIC) – in April 2016 found “sub­stan­tial breaches” of anti-money laun­der­ing reg­u­la­tions, Sin­ga­pore’s cen­tral bank said. – Reuters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.