Singapore Fines Firms Over Money Laundering
Singapore’s central bank has fined 22 financial firms for failing to comply with rules to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing over the past three years, Bloomberg reports.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore has also restricted operations at seven firms and issued 47 warnings so that firms review their anti-money laundering framework.
These fines and reprimands come after Singapore tightened its money laundering laws in order to protect its reputation as major hub in Asia’s private banking sector and offshore account industry. On July 1, Singapore increased the number of jurisdictions that deal with tax issues to 11 and made tax evasion and money laundering an offense.
Financial firms may be punished for poor money laundering controls, even if no money laundering actually took place. Firms can be fined as much as $794,000, and individuals can be fined as much as $397,000 and jailed for up to seven years for money laundering offenses.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore stated that these types of sanctions provide incentive for financial firms to update and regulate their money laundering policies, or to make improvements to their system.
Lee Boon Ngiap, assistant managing director at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said Singapore’s position in the Asian market and as an international financial center makes it vulnerable to flows of illicit funds.
Financial institutions are obliged to provide the Monetary Authority with an updated account on follow-up actions and improvements made to their anti-money laundering systems.