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Singapore Banks’ Precautionary Move After $2.23B Money Laundering Case

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In August 2023, around 16 financial institutions in Singapore, including Citigroup Inc., DBS Group Holdings Ltd., and others, underwent a $2.23 Billion money laundering scandal. As a successive step, the banks devise a plan to ramp up for scrutiny of their clients and customers.   

Singapore Banks Stepping Up for Scrutiny

As per a Bloomberg report, financial institutions in Singapore that got trapped in a money laundering scandal in August 2023 are preparing to avoid exposure to illicit money flow. The banks are actively looking for ways to offer more secure and trustworthy services to their clients and customers.

Citigroup Inc., DBS Group Holdings Ltd., and other banks are now preparing for a thorough inspection of the case. The financial institutions will interact with their healthy customers and potential clients to mitigate exposure to illicit money flows. 

The inspection will help the banks identify lenders who have dealt with criminals in terms of loans, deposits, and other financial services. Clients or customers found guilty in the case are expected to face charges as per financial regulations.          

What Happened With Singapore Financial Institutions?  

In August 2023, the money laundering case became public and involved a group of criminals who laundered over $2.23 Billion in assets in online gambling activities. The Singapore government has set up an inter-ministerial committee to investigate the entire case. 

The case review involved financial institutions, metal dealers, and property agents. Assets like cryptocurrencies, gold bars, and parked funds like Credit Suisse and Julius Baer were seized by authorities.

In August, 10 foreigners from China were arrested and sentenced to prison. Around 17 individuals are still under examination. 

Afterward, financial institutions became more attentive to offering financial services to clients and customers. Moreover, the staff have been provided complete training to spot financial criminals or money laundering activities.   

Banks like Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd (OCBC), Citigroup Inc., and United Overseas Bank (UOB) are requesting more documents for wealth source verification.

The procedures for loans, deposits, and other financial services had tightened after the case. However, avoiding such money laundering scandals requires strict anti-money laundering regulations.        

Money Laundering Cases in Singapore 

According to Statista, cyberattacks and cybercrimes are at their peak as technology evolves, with e-commerce scams holding the top position. Additionally, In 2021, cybercrime activities comprised 48 percent of overall crimes committed in Singapore and are gradually rising.   

Singapore’s Cybercrime Data I Source: Statista 

Alternatively, investment scams secure the second position regarding cyberattacks and cybercrime. In 2022, targets of investment scams in Singapore lost a total of 198.3 Million Singapore dollars. 

Considering all the scams and scandals in the financial and crypto industries, Singapore’s financial regulator announced strict rules. 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore made some changes in financial regulations, mainly in payment services, to safeguard individuals.

Disclaimer

The analysis given above is for informational and educational purposes only. You should not take it as financial, investment, or other advice. Investing in or trading crypto assets is risky. Please consider your circumstances and risk profile before making any investment decisions.

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