Singapore Takes Steps to Strengthen Anti-Money Laundering Fight

Singapore’s central bank said it will step up efforts to combat financial crime by setting up dedicated departments to counter money laundering and to strengthen its enforcement operations.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore will create an anti-money laundering unit as well as establishing a new team to carry out onsite supervision of how financial institutions manage money-laundering risks, according to a MAS statement issued Monday.

“As our financial center grows in scale, sophistication and connectivity, so does the risk of criminal elements abusing our financial system,” MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon said in the statement. “MAS is resolved to ensure that Singapore remains a clean and trusted financial center.”

Last month, the MAS withdrew the merchant-banking license of the local unit of the Swiss bank BSI SA, citing "the worst case of control lapses and gross misconduct we have seen in the Singapore financial sector." BSI is at the center of a widening financial scandal involving 1Malaysia Development Bhd. Transactions linked to 1MDB are being investigated by regulators in Switzerland, the U.S., Singapore and elsewhere.

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