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Singapore has passed stringent regulations to clamp down on money mules and those who give control of their bank accounts and Singpass to curb crimes in the country.
The revisions in the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes Bill and the Computer Misuse Bill make it easy to prosecute individuals selling their Singpass and payment accounts. However, the amendments introduced negligent and rash money laundering, revealing Singpass’s credentials to perpetrate crime.
Those guilty of rash money laundering may face a five-year maximum sentence and a fine of up to $250,000. On the other hand, negligent money launderers receive a prison term of up to three years and a maximum fine of $150,000. Those found guilty of being an accessory to such crimes will face a jail sentence of up to three years and a fine of up to $50,000.
As per the new laws, disclosing Singpass credentials, either knowing or suspecting that they could be used to perpetrate a crime, will be considered an offence. Those who give up their credentials and are found to have received monetary gain will be prosecuted for knowingly being involved with money mule scams and facilitating money laundering. Moreover, if the user can not find the identity and location of the individual to whom they reveal the details, they may also face liability. Individuals found guilty of this Singpass offence will face a maximum sentence of three years, with a fine of up to $10,000.
From 2020 to 2022, a mere year, reportedly saw 19,000 money mule scams in Singapore alone, but fewer than 250 individuals were sentenced due to gaps in the regulation.
According to the Second Minister for Home Affairs of Singapore, Josephine Teo, the goal is not to punish these individuals with legal consequences. Instead, the authorities would carefully consider various factors in every case and act judiciously. Mrs Teo said that Bills would come into effect in six months so the public could familiarise themselves with the amendments.