Singapore Regulator Fined 22 Firms Over Money-Laundering
By Andrea Tan - Jul 12, 2013 1:39 AM ET
Singapore’s central bank fined 22 financial institutions and restricted operations at seven for failing to comply with rules to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing in the past three years.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore also issued 47 warnings and reprimands and ordered “a few” financial firms to review their anti-money laundering framework, Lee Boon Ngiap, an assistant managing director at the regulator, said in a speech today. Lee didn’t identify the firms involved.
Singapore tightened money laundering laws in an effort to guard its reputation as the hub ofAsia’s private banking and offshore industry. The city made tax evasion a money laundering offense on July 1 and boosted the number of jurisdictions with which it trades information on tax issues by 11.
“Like any international financial center, we recognize that Singapore is vulnerable to being used as a conduit for illicit funds,” Lee said. “This is a clear message that Singapore neither wants nor will tolerate such illicit flows.”
Lee didn’t specify in his speech the penalties that were imposed on the financial institutions. Individuals may be fined as much as S$500,000 ($397,000) and jailed for as long as seven years for money laundering offenses. Companies may be fined as much as S$1 million.
Financial institutions are required to update the authority on follow-up actions taken, Lee said. The regulator did 108 inspections related to anti-money laundering and terror financing controls on financial firms from 2010 to 2012.
Thirteen money changers and remittance agents had their licenses revoked or not renewed because of their lax controls, Lee said.
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