SINGAPORE: Singapore will increasingly make use of technology and data analytics to detect and combat transnational crime and money laundering, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Thursday (Sep 28).
Speaking at the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants' financial forensic conference, Mr Teo said that the two key risks all financial centres need to work on are money laundering activities that support transnational crime as well as the financing of terrorism.
To tackle this, the Government and private sector must work together "to make sure that we are a trusted hub, and that any illegal activities are ferreted out," he said.
Mr Teo noted that the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force had recognised that Singapore has a strong framework to combat money laundering. However he added that money laundering risks have grown in complexity in recent years, and that criminals would continue to look for new ways to mask the beneficial owners and illicit source of their funds.
"We will increasingly have to use technology and data analytics (to strike) back at them, to detect and pursue transnational crime and money laundering, strengthen our regulatory framework enforcement approach, and collaborate more closely with our international counterparts," said Mr Teo.
Turning to terrorism financing, Mr Teo said that authorities would continue to work closely with the private sector to be vigilant against those who finance terrorism-related activities.
Noting that tackling terrorism financing was an "integral part" of Singapore's overall strategy to deal with the terrorist threat, Mr Teo said that authorities have taken action against indviduals involved in such cases.
He said that since 2015, 11 Singaporeans have been detained and six issued with Restriction Orders, more than in the previous seven years.
Singapore has also deported foreigners working here who were found to be radicalised, and convicted six other under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act.
Mr Teo added that he was glad the chartered accountants' institute was launching Southeast Asia's first postgraduate financial forensic accounting qualification - which was announced at the conference - as this would help firms combat money laundering and terrorism finance.
“The Government may have the intention of doing so, but if professionals like you do not provide the tools and the wherewithal to do it, then that intention remains an intention," Mr Teo said, addressing the conference.
"And on the other hand if professionals like you want to do your work, but if the Government and society are not as supportive, then the skills that you have cannot be put to good systemic use.”
The qualification is open to professionals with a degree in accountancy and finance as well as those working in related fields, and will cover topics such as financial crime compliance and forensic accounting.
Applications will open on Mar 1 next year.