S'pore can do more on money laundering: report

S'pore can do more on money laundering: report

Singapore has a strong framework to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, but it could still do better, an international team of assessors has found.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body focusing on criminal threats to the global financial system, said the local financial sector is robustly supervised and Singapore has a well-functioning system that enables prompt and effective investigations into financial crimes.

Local government bodies also coordinate well to fight money laundering and terrorism financing, and they provide constructive and high-quality information and assistance when cooperating with other countries, the FATF noted.

But there are areas where Singapore could do better, it added in its latest evaluation report, the second it has conducted on the Republic.

In a joint statement yesterday, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said regulators will take follow-up actions in these areas.

For example, the MAS will step up engagements with financial institutions to raise their understanding of emerging risks in money laundering and terrorism financing.

OCBC Bank's head of legal and regulatory compliance Loretta Yuen said the strong collaboration and continuous engagement between the MAS and banks has allowed Singapore to build a rigorous regime to combat financial crimes.

Singapore's law enforcement agencies will also pursue more cases of complex transnational money laundering offences, by strengthening their capabilities to identify and investigate more of them, the three government bodies said.

The Financial Intelligence Unit under the Commercial Affairs Department will develop more sophisticated data analytics capabilities.

Recent actions and investigations by Singapore into complex transnational cases, such as the 1MDB case, were not considered as part of the FATF assessment, because they were still ongoing. Only prosecutions and convictions before December were taken into account by the FATF.

Government bodies noted that Singapore's regime to combat terrorism financing was not given sufficient credit by FATF, which takes into account only criminal prosecutions and convictions.

Singapore deals with terrorism financing cases by using the Internal Security Act, which FATF does not consider in its evaluations.


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