Media Releases
Published Date: 16 August 2023

MAS Will Not Tolerate the Abuse of Our Financial System for Illicit Activities

Singapore, 16 August 2023… The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said today that it had worked closely with the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) to facilitate the development of the case that led to the Police’s arrest, on 15 August, of 10 individuals for suspected involvement in offences including forgery and/or money laundering and resistance to lawful apprehensionFurther information can be found in the Singapore Police Force’s press release here .. MAS has also been collaborating closely with CAD to identify potentially tainted funds and assets in our financial system and prevent their dissipation. 

2 Intelligence and information from suspicious transaction reports (STRs) filed by financial institutions (FIs) in Singapore had earlier alerted CAD to suspicious activities which have been attempted through the financial system. Red flag indicators picked up by FIs that prompted them to file STRs include suspicious fund flows, dubious documentation of source of wealth or funds, and inconsistencies or evasiveness in information provided to the FIs. 

3 MAS takes this case seriously and has been in touch with the FIs where the potentially tainted funds have been identified.  Supervisory engagements with these FIs are ongoing. MAS will take firm action against FIs which are found to have breached MAS’ stringent requirements on anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism, or to have inadequate controls against money laundering/terrorism financing (ML/TF) risks. 

4 MAS works closely with our FIs to guard against the abuse of our financial system for illicit activities. FIs are regularly reminded to stay vigilant to ML/TF risks, and to ensure that fund flows into Singapore are and remain legitimate. MAS has also been conducting inspections focusing on FIs active in the wealth management space, to ensure that robust controls are in place to effectively detect and deal with ML/TF risks. 

5 Ms Ho Hern Shin, Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision), MAS, said, “This case has highlighted that vigilance and prompt filing of STRs by our FIs have helped law enforcement authorities to identify those suspected of carrying out illicit activities.  But it has also highlighted that as a global financial hub, Singapore remains vulnerable to transnational ML/TF risks and that MAS and FIs need to continue to work together to strengthen our defences against these risks.”