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Singapore’s central bank started an investigation against banks involved in a $1.8b global wealth scam to monitor the shortcomings in their anti-money laundering (AML) systems.
Singapore’s central banks, along with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), started an investigation to verify the shortcomings in the bank’s controls. MAS stated they will take strict action against all the Banks that will disclose shortcomings in AML compliance measures. According to the central bank, this investigation will reveal whether the banks are involved in the recent money laundering case and if they have taken all reasonable steps to mitigate the risk, including it will divulge deficiencies in regulatory compliance.
Last month, Singapore police arrested 10 foreigners in one of the largest money laundering raids. They also seized $1.8b worth of assets, including luxury cars, properties, and cryptocurrency wallets. This scandal is a wake-up call for the Singapore regulatory authorities to supervise the banks and if all financial institutes comply with regulations. The MAS spokesperson stated, “supervisory engagements with these (financial institutions) are ongoing to assess whether they have taken all reasonable steps to mitigate against money laundering/terrorism financing risks. We will take action where the FIs’ controls have fallen short, as we have done in past cases.”
The MAS revealed in an official statement that it is too early to confirm whether banks are involved in the money laundering scandal or not adhering to the AML and CFT regulations. In recent years, Singapore has benefited from significant asset inflows as wealthy people from Asia and other parts of the world established family and trust offices to take advantage of the perks given by Singapore’s banking structure. MAS also stated, “the wealth management sector remains a key area of supervisory focus for MAS, and we have conducted thematic inspections, focusing on enhanced due diligence measures, including corroboration of a source of wealth and source of funds.”