Letters to Editor
Published Date: 05 June 2015

Response to two articles on Singapore's Anti-Money Laundering Regime - Straits Times, 28 May and 4 June 2015

Dear Editor
We refer to some important issues relating to Singapore’s anti-money laundering regime raised in Mr Raymond Koh Bock Swi’s letter “Are we well equipped to fight money laundering?” (Straits Times, 28 May 2015) and a subsequent letter by Mr Tan Sin Liang “Money laundering; Banks not a big worry, but watch other sectors” (Straits Times, 4 June 2015) that highlighted the tough controls that banks in Singapore are required to put in place to prevent money laundering. 

We agree with Mr Koh that Singapore must be vigilant against money laundering because our openness as an international financial centre and transport hub exposes us to this risk. And we would like to assure Mr Koh and your readers that insinuations that Singapore is a major centre for money laundering are not true.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) does indeed have a strong legal and regulatory framework to guard against money laundering risks in the financial sector. Financial institutions, including finance companies, life insurers, fund managers, financial advisors, money-changers and remittance agents, are required to perform due diligence on their customers and closely monitor transactions that are suspicious. Financial institutions are rigorously supervised by MAS for compliance with these requirements. Failure to comply can attract fines up to $1 million per offence.

Singapore’s anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime extends beyond the financial sector to other sectors such as real estate agents, lawyers and accountants. Our AML/CFT efforts are coordinated by a multi-agency committee, led by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and MAS.

The letters from both Mr Koh and Mr Tan remind us that Singapore cannot be complacent on AML/CFT risks.  Cross-border money laundering risks are constantly evolving. Where new cross-border risks arise, Singapore will work proactively with our foreign counterparts to understand the nature of these risks, and take the necessary action to mitigate them. Any person who comes across a transaction that may be linked to money laundering should lodge a report with the Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office at the Commercial Affairs Department.

Bey Mui Leng (Ms)
Director (Corporate Communications)
Monetary Authority of Singapore