Written reply to Parliamentary Questions on former Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone's alleged S$650 million trust in a Singapore bank account
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 2 August 2023
Names and Constituencies of Members of Parliament
Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis, Sengkang GRC
Ms He Ting Ru, Sengkang GRC
Ms Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the Prime Minister in relation to the UK trial of Bernie Ecclestone that allegedly involves undisclosed assets of USD 650 million in a Singapore bank, whether MAS is satisfied with the anti-money laundering precautions that have been put in place at the bank.
Ms He Ting Ru: To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether the Government has received any requests from the UK law enforcement agencies regarding the case involving former Formula One CEO and Chairman Emeritus Bernie Ecclestone's alleged failure to declare to the UK government a trust in Singapore of about S$650 million in a bank account; and (b) if yes, what assistance has been provided.
Answer by Mr Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, and Chairman of MAS:
1. Ms He asked if the Singapore Government has received any requests from UK law enforcement agencies in relation to the case involving former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. It is our policy, in line with international practice, not to comment on whether a foreign government has made a request for legal assistance on specific cases.
2. That said, we can confirm that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) have worked closely with UK authorities on their investigation and prosecution of Mr Ecclestone. In fact, Singapore proactively shared relevant information with our UK counterparts, which helped them develop their case.
3. In 2017, MAS conducted an inspection of the bank cited in recent media reports, to assess its controls for mitigating money laundering and terrorist financing risks. During the inspection, MAS specifically reviewed the bank’s handling of its relationship with Mr Ecclestone. While MAS found that there was room for improvement in the bank’s anti-money laundering processes, it did not find gaps or weaknesses that were systemic in nature. MAS also noted that when adverse news about Mr Ecclestone first surfaced in 2013, the bank promptly subjected the account to enhanced monitoring controls by requiring all transactions to be flagged for scrutiny and approval.
4. MAS will continue to work with financial institutions to ensure that our financial sector’s defences against financial crime remain robust.