Reply to Parliamentary Question on Suspicious Financial Transaction Reports Related to Wildlife Crime
QUESTION NO 1701
NOTICE PAPER 1082 OF 2022
FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 5 April 2022
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang, MP, Nee Soon GRC
To ask the Prime Minister (a) for each year in the past five years, how many suspicious financial transaction reports related to wildlife crime have been filed; (b) how does the Government determine whether there is underreporting of suspicious transactions relating to wildlife crime; and (c) what is the Government doing to ensure that financial institutions keep a lookout and file such reports.
Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:
1.Financial institutions (FIs) and other relevant business entities such as traders or agents are required by law to report suspicious transactions related to illegal wildlife trafficking (IWT). The Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office (STRO) does not publicly release detailed statistics relating to suspicious transaction reports (STRs).
2.Enforcement action can be taken against FIs for non-compliance. MAS also assesses FIs’ ability to detect and report suspicious transactions in a timely manner through ongoing supervision of their anti-money laundering controls. MAS has drawn FIs’ attention to relevant reports published by the Financial Action Task Force on the modus operandi used to launder proceeds from IWT. In addition, STRO proactively shares red flag indicators of IWT with banks, traders and their agents. The Association of Banks in Singapore also holds seminars and workshops to share best practices on managing the money laundering risks from IWT.
3.Mr Ng has highlighted an area of growing concern in the international community. As criminals become more sophisticated in concealing their illegal activities, combating money laundering related to IWT will require constant vigilance and close collaboration between the government and the private sector.