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Singapore

S$1 billion in houses, cars, money and goods seized or frozen in one of Singapore's largest money laundering probes

Ten foreigners have been charged after police conducted simultaneous raids on multiple locations across Singapore, including Good Class Bungalows and condominiums.

S$1 billion in houses, cars, money and goods seized or frozen in one of Singapore's largest money laundering probes

About S$1 billion (US$736 million) in assets, including vehicles and luxury goods, have been seized amid an ongoing Singapore Police Force (SPF) probe into money laundering and forgery activities. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)

  • In one of Singapore’s largest anti-money laundering operations, police seized more than S$23 million in cash as well as items like luxury bags, watches and jewellery
  • Prohibition of disposal orders were issued against 94 properties and 50 vehicles
  • The 10 suspects are citizens of Cyprus, Türkiye, China, Cambodia and Ni-Vanuatu. Eight other people are wanted by the police

SINGAPORE: About S$1 billion (US$736 million) in assets, including properties, vehicles, luxury goods and gold bars, have been seized or frozen in one of Singapore's largest police probes into money laundering and forgery offences. 

Ten people, aged between 31 and 44, were charged in court on Wednesday (Aug 16) night in connection with the investigation.

They are of Cypriot, Turkish, Chinese, Cambodian and Ni-Vanuatu nationalities. Those who were not of Chinese nationality were found to be in possession of foreign passports believed to be issued by China and other countries. All 10 people have been remanded.

Twelve others are assisting with investigations while eight more are wanted by the police. 

“These persons are believed to have connections among themselves. All the persons involved are neither Singapore citizens nor permanent residents," said SPF.

The nine men and one woman were arrested in simultaneous raids at multiple locations islandwide, including at Good Class Bungalows (GCB) and condominiums.

According to the police, some of the suspects lived in GCBs in the Holland and Nassim Road area.

Prohibition of disposal orders were issued for several vehicles by the police during a series of arrests for forgery and money laundering. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)
Handbags seized by the police during a series of arrests for forgery and money laundering. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)
Watches seized by the police during a series of arrests for forgery and money laundering. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)

The police said they acted on information about possible illicit activities, including the use of suspected forged documents that were used to substantiate the source of funds in Singapore bank accounts. 

Through extensive investigations, including the analysis of suspicious transaction reports, the police identified a group of foreigners suspected to be involved in laundering proceeds from their organised crime activities overseas. These activities include scams and online gambling.

More than 400 officers – from the Commercial Affairs Department, the Criminal Investigation Department, Special Operations Command and the Police Intelligence Department – mounted simultaneous raids at multiple locations across Singapore on Tuesday. 

Prohibition of disposal orders were issued for several vehicles by the police during a series of arrests for forgery and money laundering. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)
Bottles of liquor seized by the police during a series of arrests for forgery and money laundering. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)
Collectibles seized by the police during a series of arrests for forgery and money laundering. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)

Prohibition of disposal orders were issued against 94 properties and 50 vehicles, with a total estimated value of more than S$815 million, as well as multiple ornaments and bottles of liquor and wine. 

The authorities seized more than 35 related bank accounts with a total estimated balance of more than S$110 million for investigations and to prevent the dissipation of suspected criminal proceeds. 

Also confiscated was cash amounting to more than S$23 million, over 250 luxury bags and watches, more than 120 electronic devices such as computers and mobile phones, more than 270 pieces of jewellery, two gold bars, as well as 11 documents with information on virtual assets.

RED FLAGS PICKED UP BY FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said financial institutions had filed suspicious transaction reports.

These included suspicious fund flows, dubious documentation of the source of wealth or funds, as well as inconsistencies or evasiveness in the information provided to the financial institutions. 

"MAS takes this case seriously and has been in touch with the FIs (financial institutions) where the potentially tainted funds have been identified," said the financial regulator in a media release on Wednesday. 

"Supervisory engagements with these FIs are ongoing. MAS will take firm action against FIs which are found to have breached MAS’ stringent requirements on anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism, or to have inadequate controls against money laundering/terrorism financing risks."

MAS said it works closely with financial institutions to guard against the abuse of Singapore's financial system for illicit activities.

Source: CNA/zl(mi/gs)

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