Targeted Financial Sanctions

For Financial Institutions

As a member state of the United Nations (UN), Singapore is committed to implementing the UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs).

Amongst other measures, the UNSCRs may impose targeted financial sanctions against specific individuals and entities identified by the UN Security Council (or relevant UN Committees) as contributing to a particular threat to, or breach of, international peace and security. For instance, there are UNSCRs issued to address risks of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction emanating from Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

MAS gives effect to targeted financial sanctions under the UNSCRs through MAS Regulations issued pursuant to section 27A of the MAS Act. The MAS Regulations apply to all financial institutions in Singapore.           

Broadly, the MAS Regulations require financial institutions to:

  • Immediately freeze funds, other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities;
  • Not enter into financial transactions or provide financial assistance or services in relation to: (i) designated individuals, entities or items; or (ii) proliferation and nuclear, or other sanctioned activities; and
  • Inform MAS of any fact or information relating to the funds, other financial assets or economic resources owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a designated individual or entity.

Under the MAS Act, a financial institution that contravenes any MAS Regulations is guilty of an offence and will be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1 million.

Before engaging in a business relationship or providing a financial service, financial institutions should ensure that they do not deal with designated individuals and entities (as defined in the respective MAS Regulations). Financial institutions are required to screen the names of their customers, including the beneficial owners, against the names (and aliases) of designated individuals and entities.

Financial institutions should also note that aside from the MAS Regulations, there are other targeted financial sanctions (e.g. those found under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act[1]) that they also have to comply with. For reference, a non-exhaustive list of targeted financial sanctions that financial institutions have to comply with can be accessed here. More information on terrorist designation and requirements for countering the financing of terrorism can be found at the Ministry of Home Affairs’ website: Inter-Ministerial Committee – Terrorist Designation (IMC-TD).

Financial institutions should seek legal advice on the interpretation and applicability of the respective MAS Regulations if necessary. Further enquiries may be sent to webmaster@mas.gov.sg.

For Non-Financial Institutions and Natural Persons in Singapore

Non-financial institutions and natural persons in Singapore are similarly required to comply with the sanctions requirements in relation to UN-designated individuals and entities.

The UN Act, which was promulgated in 2001, gives the Minister for Law the power to make regulations that are necessary to comply with the sanctions requirements.

Thus far, Singapore has put in place Regulations to comply with the various UNSCRs, such as those dealing with Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The full texts of the UN Act and the UN Regulations are available at the Singapore Statutes Online.

These Regulations prohibit persons in Singapore from dealing with designated individuals and entities as defined in the respective UN Regulations.

The prohibitions include the following:

  • Prohibition against dealing with property of designated persons; and
  • Prohibition against provision of resources and services for benefit of designated persons.

Under the UN Act, a person who commits an offence against any Regulations made under the UN Act will be liable on conviction, in the case of an individual, to a fine not exceeding $500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to both; or in any other case, to a fine of up to $1 million.

Please seek legal advice on the interpretation and applicability of the UN Act and its Regulations or your obligations to comply with the sanctions requirements if necessary. Further enquiries should be sent to your sectoral regulator or supervisor, or where appropriate to MAS at webmaster@mas.gov.sg.

Aside from the UN Act and its Regulations, all natural and legal persons also have to comply with other targeted financial sanctions found in the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act. More information on terrorist designation and requirements for countering the financing of terrorism can be found at the Ministry of Home Affairs’ website: Inter-Ministerial Committee – Terrorist Designation (IMC-TD).  



[1]More information is available on the IMC-TD website.

 

Last Modified on 26/11/2016