Written reply to Parliamentary Question on tackling cross-border money laundering
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 23 February 2023
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Christopher de Souza, MP, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC
To ask the Prime Minister how is MAS working with international partners and financial institutions to tackle cross-border money laundering.
Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:
1. As with all major financial centres, Singapore intermediates sizeable global fund flows and is exposed to similar risks of cross-border money laundering and terrorist financing (“ML/TF”). In recent years, ML/TF schemes have also become increasingly complex and difficult to detect globally, as criminal syndicates exploit technology to hide their tracks. Tackling these risks therefore requires close surveillance in partnership with the industry and international partners.
2. MAS taps on information from a wide range of sources to detect suspicious financial activities, including reports filed by financial institutions (“FIs”) and intelligence from our overseas counterparts. Data analytics techniques such as network link analysis are deployed to sift out unusual patterns of activity, thereby allowing us to more swiftly identify and mitigate emerging risks.
3. An example of active collaboration on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (“AML/CFT”) is the AML/CFT Industry Partnership (“ACIP”)ACIP is a private-public partnership, which was established in April 2017. It is co-chaired by MAS and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and is supported by a steering group comprising nine banks and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS). The ACIP steering group is supported by Working Groups which will look into specific risk areas and topics relevant to ML/TF.. ACIP is co-chaired by MAS and the Singapore Police Force’s Commercial Affairs Department and brings together key FIs to share analyses of emerging ML/TF risks as well as information on specific cases. These proactive efforts have led to the identification and investigation of suspicious accounts and activities. ACIP has issued advisory notes and best practices papers to help improve AML/CFT practices across the industry to strengthen collective defences.
4. MAS also collaborates closely with our international counterparts to combat cross-border crime. Singapore has in place a legal framework and information sharing mechanisms that are in line with international standards set out by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). MAS proactively exchanges relevant information with its international counterparts to surface suspicious cross-border flows and activities so that it can take the appropriate mitigating measures.