REGULATION: Parliament to hear three ministerial statements on Singapore's anti-money laundering efforts

As published on: channelnewsasia.com, Tuesday 3 October, 2023.

The recent billion-dollar money laundering case will be addressed in three ministerial statements at the next Parliament sitting on Tuesday (Oct 3).

According to the order paper released on Monday, Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan, and Second Minister for Finance and National Development Indranee Rajah will be giving the statements on the case. Mr Tan will address parliament on behalf of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong.

In one of Singapore's biggest money laundering probes, ten foreigners were arrested in August when the Singapore police raided multiple locations, including Good Class Bungalows and condominiums, across the island. Those arrested are either Chinese nationals or former Chinese citizens. Some hold multiple passports from other countries.

The value of assets seized or frozen in the money laundering case has since snowballed to over S$2.4 billion (US$1.8 billion), more than double the original S$1 billion total value of luxury cars, houses, cash and other assets thrown up in August.

More than 30 questions on money-laundering were filed by Members of Parliaments for the previous sitting in mid-September. Minister of State for Home Affairs Sun Xueling told Parliament on Sep 18 that these queries would be addressed "comprehensively" in a ministerial statement.

For the Tuesday's sitting, more than a dozen questions were filed.  

MP Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim (PAP-Chua Chu Kang) asked how the Monetary Authority of Singapore is working with relevant agencies to prevent movable assets such as jewellery and luxury watches as a form of money laundering.

MP Murali Pillai (PAP- Bukit Batok) also asked about whether the 10 suspects are currently or will be investigated for running any organised crime syndicate in or from Singapore, and whether additional steps will be taken to protect the real estate market from being targeted by money launderers.

MP Gan Thiam Poh (PAP-Ang Moh Kio) asked if the police would initiate investigations and arrest those on the wanted list for criminal offences in another country but not on the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol).

Some questions were also raised about how the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) regulates business entities.

MP Don Wee (PAP-Chua Chu Kang) asked whether ACRA pays attention or conducts surveillance on foreign directors, beneficial owners and local directors appearing to be nominee directors, while MP Saktiandi Supaat (PAP-Bishan-Toa Payoh) asked about how many ACRA-registered businesses are currently “dormant” and how often does the authority check on the reasons why inactive companies remain registered.


Singapore AML Anti-Money Laundering

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