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Financing individual travel for terrorist training to be illegal under proposed law changes

Another suggested amendment will also allow the Government to prosecute money mules who transport criminal proceeds for organised syndicates.

Financing individual travel for terrorist training to be illegal under proposed law changes

File picture of a conflict zone in Iraq (Photo: AFP/Delil Souleimna)

SINGAPORE: The financing, and the provision or collection of funds to finance the travel, of an individual to engage in terrorist training would become illegal in amendments proposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday (Oct 1).

This will expand the scope of activities prohibited under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act (TSOFA) and align Singapore’s laws with obligations under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178 - introduced in 2014 to address the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters.

Another proposal by MHA seeks to create a new money laundering offence under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (CDSA): To possess or use property reasonably suspected of being criminal proceeds and not being able to satisfactorily account for it.

This will enable the prosecution of money mules who transport criminal proceeds for organised syndicates.

For instances of money laundering involving a foreign offence, MHA is aiming to introduce a presumption clause. This is so an act committed abroad, which amounts to a drug dealing or serious offence if committed in Singapore, will be presumed to be an offence in that foreign country - once the prosecution can cite evidence presumed to be true unless refuted.

In the same amendments bill tabled to Parliament, MHA is proposing enhancements to current penalties - for instance, to increase the maximum fine for failing to file a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) from S$20,000 to S$250,000 and three years’ jail for individuals, and S$500,000 for entities.

The STR needs to be filed whenever there is a suspicion that a property is linked to a drug dealing or serious offence.

For tipping off another person of a CDSA-related investigation or an STR, the fine could also be increased, from S$30,000 to S$250,000 and three years’ jail.

Additionally, failing to report bringing more than S$20,000 cash into Singapore could result in composition fines of up to S$20,000. If the case goes to court, the undeclared amount above S$20,000 can be confiscated.

MHA is also suggesting to increase the S$1 million penalty for corporations convicted of terrorism financing, to the higher of either S$1 million or twice the value of the property involved or services rendered for terrorism financing.

The final proposed amendment pertains to improving the tackling of transnational crimes - by allowing the Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office (STRO) to share information with other jurisdictions which have endorsed the Egmont Charter and Principles for Information Exchange. 

This is an international arrangement to enhance cooperation between Financial Intelligence Units.

Source: CNA/jo

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