Singapore police confiscated 2.4 billion SGD (~$1.8 billion) in the country’s largest case of laundering criminal proceeds related to digital assets. Bloomberg reports this.
In addition, law enforcement officers seized bank accounts worth more than 1.13 billion SGD (~$825 million) and $27 million in cryptocurrencies. As part of the investigation, authorities also sealed over 110 properties and 62 vehicles worth approximately 1.24 billion SGD (~$906 million) ).
In mid-August, police arrested ten Chinese citizens on suspicion of involvement in money laundering and document forgery. According to the statement, they allegedly laundered the proceeds of organized criminal activities abroad, including online fraud and gambling.
The detainees were denied bail, citing the risk of escape due to the presence of false passports.
Against the backdrop of the current situation, Singapore banks have strengthened control over Chinese clients. Some lenders review the opening of new accounts and transactions.
According to the publication’s sources, at least one international bank has already stopped servicing several citizens from Cambodia, Cyprus, Turkey and Vanuatu. Other financial institutions in the city-state have begun assessing whether to accept new funds from clients with similar characteristics on a case-by-case basis.
The criminal scandal caused widespread public outcry as it affected at least ten local banks. As a result, a reasonable question arose about the effectiveness of local anti-money laundering efforts.
A representative of the affected organization, DBS Group, noted that the local regulatory regime obliges all banks to monitor money laundering risks, but does not force them to refuse services.
More than 30 issues have been raised in Singapore’s Parliament on the topic, ranging from the rigor of verification processes to reporting of suspicious transactions and the impact on the country’s reputation. Interior Minister Sun Xueling said the department will provide answers at a briefing in early October.
Let us recall that in September in Thailand, those accused of organizing a $27 million crypto fraud were arrested. At least 3,280 people became victims of a platform called bchgloballtd.com.
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