Singapore bank concern grows about illegal money flows, MAS says

Singapore’s finance firms are now more concerned about risks stemming from potential money laundering and terrorism financing in the wake of the island-wide raid earlier this year that captured more than $2 billion in a crime ring, according to Bloomberg. 

That’s according to the Financial Stability Review published Monday by the Monetary Authority of Singapore which compared views last month with those from April. Laundering and terrorism financing saw the largest increase, while macrofinancial risk arising from elevated interest rates and slower economic growth remained the biggest perceived risk.

Money laundering and terrorism financing will continue to be “a major challenge for global financial hubs given their open capital accounts and large gross capital inflows,” MAS said, adding the regulator will stay engaged with the industry to identify and disrupt illegal activities.

The October survey had a response rate of 97% from 56 firms, compared with 96% from 46 in the inaugural one.

More than S$2.8 billion of assets have now been frozen or seized by police, including more than 150 properties, and a probe remains ongoing in a bid to determine whether the accused made illicit gains from overseas gambling rings.