Media Releases
Published Date: 26 June 2024

Singapore Publishes National Asset Recovery Strategy

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Singapore, 26 June 2024… Singapore today published our National Asset Recovery Strategy, setting out our comprehensive approach towards the recovery of illicit funds and assets from criminals, and the forfeiture of these assets or their return to victims. Announced by Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong at the opening of the Financial Action Task Force Plenary Meeting this morning, the National Asset Recovery Strategy is part of Singapore’s continued efforts to enhance its Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime. 

2. Globally, money laundering activities are increasingly sophisticated, involving swift movements of large sums of illicit funds across jurisdictions, and affecting a significant number of victims. Specific to Singapore, a sizeable proportion of the money laundering cases here are transnational in nature, involving foreign predicate offences and foreign crime syndicates which employ sophisticated and complex methods, including layering tactics and digital technologies, to conceal the cross-border movement of their illicit funds. 

3. Asset recovery is one of the key pillars of Singapore’s AML regime.  It seeks to deter the flow of illicit assets through Singapore’s financial ecosystem, while remaining welcoming to legitimate businesses. Between January 2019 and June 2024, Singapore seized S$6 billion linked to criminal and money laundering activities – of which S$416 million have been returned to victims, and S$1 billion have been forfeited to the State. The large bulk of the remainder is linked to still ongoing investigations or court proceedings.

4. Successful asset recovery requires a multi-faceted approach. To this end, Singapore’s National Asset Recovery Strategy focuses on four pillars, namely to:

a. Detect suspicious and criminal activities by tracing the illicit funds; 

b. Deprive criminals of their ill-gotten proceeds through prompt seizure and confiscation; 

c. Deliver maximum recovery of assets for forfeiture and restitution to victims; and

d. Deter criminals from using Singapore to hide, move, or enjoy their illicit assets.

5. Singapore implements these four pillars through upstream loss prevention efforts, and a whole-of-society approach. We have strengthened partnerships with our international counterparts, and community and private sector stakeholders, in asset recovery and loss prevention efforts. For instance, the Singapore Police Force’s Anti-Scam Command and the local banks sent more than 16,700 SMS alerts from March to April 2024 to warn more than 12,500 bank customers, whom the authorities had detected were in the process of being scammed. This resulted in the disruption of more than 3,000 scams and averted losses of over S$100 million. 

6. Singapore recognises that criminal activities and methods are constantly evolving. We are committed to continually enhancing our AML/CFT regime to prevent criminals from exploiting Singapore’s ecosystem. Where we detect any abuse by criminals, we will track them down, and take them to task, including depriving them of their ill-gotten assets. The National Asset Recovery Strategy is available for download here