MAS to Designate Tax Crimes as Money Laundering Predicate Offences
Singapore, 9 October 2012...The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued a consultation paper on the designation of tax crimes as money laundering (ML) predicate offences in Singapore.
2 As part of MAS’ ongoing efforts to protect the integrity and reputation of Singapore as a trusted international financial centre, a broad range of serious tax crimes will be designated as ML predicate offences from 1 July 2013. The Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act will be updated to include the designated offences.
3 With the designation, financial institutions (FIs) must apply the full suite of the Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism measures as contained in the relevant MAS Notices, to prevent the laundering of proceeds from serious tax crimes. This involves the conduct of rigorous customer due diligence and transactions monitoring, as well as, proper reporting of suspicious transactions. FIs must adequately identify and assess tax related risks and take action to appropriately manage and mitigate those risks.
4 The consultation paper proposes an implementation framework of essential elements that FIs should observe to comply with the new requirements. FIs must develop and implement policies, controls and procedures to effectively detect and deter the laundering of proceeds from wilful or fraudulent tax evasion through the financial system. This includes supplementing existing client acceptance and ongoing transactions monitoring with tax-specific red flag indicators as well as critically reviewing existing clients to assess the tax legitimacy of assets booked. FIs should also establish proper escalation policies for managing high-risk clients, including appropriate senior management approval procedures.
5 The consultation paper is available on the MAS website (www.mas.gov.sg/News-and-Publications/Consultation-Paper). MAS invites interested parties to provide feedback on the implementation framework, as well as, suggestions to facilitate practical and effective implementation. Comments should reach MAS by 9 December 2012 and electronic submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note to Editor:
Singapore is fully committed to safeguard its financial system from being used to harbour proceeds from tax crimes. In 2011, MAS reminded FIs in Singapore to remain vigilant against suspicious inflow of funds in anticipation of agreements between foreign jurisdictions to resolve outstanding tax issues. Singapore also announced plans to criminalise the laundering of proceeds from serious tax offences.
2 Following the revision of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations in February 2012, Singapore reiterated its commitment to fully align its legal and policy regime with the new FATF requirements, including the designation of tax crimes as ML predicate offences.