Assets seized in Singapore money laundering hit $2B | Inquirer Business

Singapore says assets seized in money laundering case now at $2B

/ 02:58 PM October 03, 2023

City skyline in Singapore

A view of the city skyline in Singapore, October 25, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

SINGAPORE  – Singapore said it was expecting more arrests and seizures as the Asian financial hub investigates one of its biggest cases of money laundering, in which the value of assets seized now stands at S$2.8 billion ($2 billion).

Simultaneous raids in mid-August by authorities of the city state known for its low crime rate led to the arrest of 10 foreigners and the seizure of luxury properties, cars, gold bars, designer handbags and jewelry worth S$1 billion.


“This case is a reminder that even the most stringent preventive measures can be circumvented by determined criminals,” Josephine Teo, the second minister for home affairs, told parliament on Tuesday.


The government would set up an inter-ministerial panel to review the anti-money laundering regime, reflecting learning points drawn from the case, she added.

But Singapore’s arrests and investigations showed its system was able to detect suspicious individuals and activities, Teo said.

She was one of three cabinet ministers responding to almost 60 questions filed by lawmakers on the case.

READ: Singapore arrests 10 foreigners, seizes S$1 billion assets in money laundering probe

The government said it was inspecting financial institutions involved in the case and would launch enforcement action against any of them, and their staff, found to have breached central bank requirements.

The case had been on the radar of police since 2021, after the filing of suspicious transaction reports by financial institutions, Teo said.


She dismissed as “completely untrue” rumors that pressure from authorities in China had spurred efforts to roll up the operation.

“We started investigations because we suspected that offences had been committed in Singapore,” Teo added. “Once we confirmed our suspicions, we acted.”

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TAGS: money laundering, Singapore

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