Saturday, 30 May 2020

Banks, casinos commended for aiding police in seizure of $25m from financial crimes

SINGAPORE – Three local banks, as well as casinos at Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands, were commended by police on Monday (Oct 21) for their efforts in combating money laundering and terrorism financing that led to seizures of more than $25 million.

Of the 32,660 suspicious transaction reports (STRs) that were filed last year, half were alerts sent by the banking sector, with a significant percentage contributed by DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank, said the police.

The two casinos contributed about 20 per cent of the total STRs filed in the same period.

Their combined efforts led to or supported investigations and seizures of more than $25 million linked to various financial crimes such as cheating, criminal breach of trust and money laundering.

The reports also led to the prosecution of individuals involved in the crimes, with those convicted sentenced to jail terms of between six weeks and up to nine years and six months. Taxes, penalties and fines related to the crimes amounted to more than $2 million.

“We would like to compliment the banks and casinos for their vigilance and commitment in detecting and reporting suspicious transactions,” said director of Commercial Affairs Department David Chew.

“We look forward to continuing to try and do better, not just inquiry of the STRs but also in data analytics… With that, we will be able to analyse it faster, better, and then share it with the industry, so that we will have a virtuous cycle, improving the STR filings,” he added.

STRs are analysed by the department’s Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office, which shares financial intelligence with law enforcement agencies in Singapore. It is Singapore’s Financial Intelligence Unit, which is also headed by Mr Chew.

Financial intelligence is crucial to investigations as it provides leads to commence or support investigations and can be used to develop further intelligence, identify emerging crime trends or detect possible crimes, said the police.

Those who know or have reasonable grounds to suspect that any property may be connected to a criminal activity in the course of their trade, profession, or employment, are required to file an STR to the reporting office.

Individuals who fail to do so may be a criminal offence, with a jail term of up to three years or a fine of up to $250,000, while entities may be fined up to $500,000.

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