Singapore’s money laundering case is one of the largest anti-money laundering operations not just in Singapore, but likely the world as well, Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information & Second Minister for Home Affairs said in a ministerial statement.
The probe is comprehensive and extensive.
How it was uncovered
It began with disparate information received by police on suspicious activities.
Some Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) were filed by financial institutions and other companies, Mrs Teo said in her ministerial statement.
The aim was to probe extensively and develop as full a picture as possible of the suspects and their associates, their suspected criminal activities, and their assets, before making any move against them, said Mrs Teo.
The probe uncovered a web of individuals believed to have connections amongst themselves, including by familial ties.
Earlier this year, the Police assessed that they had enough information, and consulted the Attorney-General’s Chambers. AGC assessed that we had sufficient reason to suspect that criminal offences had been committed in Singapore.
Probe carried out at the behest of China? Completely untrue!
FACTS OF THE CASE
Ten persons have been arrested and charged for offences including laundering criminal proceeds. Some have been charged with forgery as well.
They include 152 properties and 62 vehicles with a total estimated value of more than S$1.24 billion, thousands of bottles of liquor and wine, monies in banks, cryptocurrencies, 68 gold bars, 294 luxury bags, 164 luxury watches, and 546 pieces of jewellery.
Donations to charities
The Commissioner of Charities will issue an advisory to encourage all charities to review their donor records to ascertain whether they have received donations from the arrested individuals and entities linked to them, and file the requisite suspicious transaction reports. It will also include advice to charities on how to handle the monies.
Likely the largest anti-money laundering operation in the world
“We probed extensively to uncover the linkages. We were comprehensive in our actions and operation.
“We will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action against people who would use Singapore as a haven to launder proceeds of crime. We will deal with them and their ill-gotten gains to the fullest extent of our laws.”
Money Laundering Risks Which International Financial Centres Face
We rely on various stakeholders (the financial institutions and other gatekeepers in the system like corporate service providers, property agents, precious stones and precious metals dealers) to conduct the necessary checks and detect possible risks.
Singapore has in place a robust anti-money laundering regime.
Nevertheless, this case is a reminder that even the most stringent preventive measures can be circumvented by determined criminals.
“We have updated our prevention frameworks to keep pace with the evolving risks and typologies of money laundering, and strengthened our capabilities to proactively detect and take firm enforcement action,” Mrs Teo said.