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Police in Singapore Seize US$736 Million in Assets from Money Laundering Operation

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Police in Singapore Seize US$736 million in Assets from Money Laundering Operation

The Singapore Police Force (SPF)has busted up a foreign anti-money laundering operations, seizing approximately US$736 million in assets. The assets, which included homes, luxury cars, and items, were either seized, frozen, or subjected to prohibition of disposal orders.

The members of the money laundering operations resided in good class bungalows (GCBs) and high-end condominiums, and they drove luxury cars. The police said they had received evidence about probable illegal acts, including fake documents used to prove the source of monies in Singapore bank accounts.

On Tuesday, police executed a large island wide blitz, raiding multiple GCBs and high-end condos across Singapore at the same time in order to apprehend several of the suspects. Tanglin, Bukit Timah, Orchard Road, Sentosa, and River Valley were among the areas raided.

On Wednesday night, ten people were arrested and charged, including a woman. They range in age from 31 to 44 years old and are suspected of forgery, money laundering, and resisting arrest.

Another 12 people are aiding with the investigations, and eight more are on the run and on the wanted list.

The police claimed in a release on Wednesday that the blitz featured more than 400 officers from the Criminal Investigation Department, Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), Special Operations Command or riot police, and Police Intelligence Department.

The group of foreign nationals is accused of laundering criminal gains from their overseas organised crime activities, which are tied to scams and online gambling.

Police in Singapore Seize US$736 million in Assets from Money Laundering Operation

The police had tracked them down after conducting lengthy investigations, including an examination of suspicious transaction reports (STRs) filed by financial institutions in response to suspicious behaviour.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced on Wednesday evening that it had been working closely with CAD to detect potentially tainted monies and assets in the financial system and prevent their dissipation.

It went on to say that red flag indicators such questionable fund transfers, dubious verification of source of wealth or funds, and discrepancies or evasiveness in information presented had been detected by the financial firms that filed the STRs.

The MAS stated that it has continuous supervisory engagements with the financial institutions where potentially tainted money have been identified, and that if violations are discovered, robust action would be taken.

According to the police, prohibition of disposal orders were filed against 94 homes and 50 vehicles worth more than $815 million, as well as numerous ornaments and bottles of spirits and wine.

The injunctions prevent the accused from selling their residences or automobiles.

In addition, the police seized more than 35 associated bank accounts with an estimated total value of more than $110 million in order to conduct investigations and block the transfer of suspected illegal proceeds.

Police in Singapore Seize US$736 million in Assets from Money Laundering Operation

More than $23 million in cash, over 250 luxury bags and watches, over 120 electronic devices such as computers and mobile phones, over 270 pieces of jewellery, two gold bars, and 11 documents with information on virtual assets were also seized.

Among those detained was a 40-year-old Cypriot national who was detained at the GCB where he was staying in Ewart Park, Bukit Timah. According to the police, policemen announced themselves at his bedroom door and told him to open it.

Instead, the man allegedly leaped off the second-floor balcony and was discovered injured hiding in a drain. He was rushed to the hospital.

He was also suspected to have other foreign passports from China and Cambodia.

The police confiscated almost $2.1 million in cash from the man and issued prohibition of disposal orders for 13 homes and five vehicles totaling more than $118 million. They also seized several decorations and bottles of spirits and wine, as well as four associated bank accounts containing more than $6.7 million.

CAD director David Chew stated that the police will collaborate with law enforcement agencies and financial intelligence units to detect, dissuade, and prohibit such criminal elements from operating in Singapore.

“We have zero tolerance for criminals or their families using Singapore as a safe haven, or for the abuse of our banking facilities,” he said.

“Our message to these criminals is simple: if we catch you, we will arrest you.” We will seize your ill-gotten gains if we locate them. We will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”

Singapore, as a global financial hub, is subject to transnational money-laundering threats, according to Ms Ho Hern Shin, MAS’s deputy managing director (financial supervision).

“This case has highlighted that our financial institutions’ vigilance and prompt filing of STRs have assisted law enforcement authorities in identifying those suspected of carrying out illicit activities,” she said.

“However, it has also highlighted that Singapore remains vulnerable to transnational money-laundering/terrorism-financing risks as a global financial hub, and that MAS and financial institutions must continue to collaborate to strengthen our defences against these risks.”

This article was first published in The Straits Times.

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The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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