MAS to Launch New Anti-Money Laundering Initiative

MAS is looking to crack down on domestic money-laundering cases by launching a new enforcement directive.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore, the country’s central banking authority, has stepped up its plans to issue an overhaul to its internal infrastructure and systems in a bid to help curb money laundering, given the recent cropping of incidents worldwide, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

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A couple months ago, the central bank of Bangladesh learned a painful lesson as it was targeted by a $1.0 billion heist that succeeded in hacking SWIFT systems, resulting in the theft of $81.0 million. Since then, a panel of international banks have all instigated probes and overviews into their respective payments systems, given the vulnerabilities uncovered via the Bangladeshi incident.

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Singapore operates as one of the world’s paramount major financial centers, as well as a nexus for Southeast Asian finance. The city is home to many branches of leading international banks, including as Credit Suisse AG., Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank, and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Call to Arms

In terms of MAS, the group has already opted to take concerted efforts at tackling money-laundering issues, which followed after it cracked down on a Swiss bank operating locally – BSI Bank Ltd has since closed its doors after it breached regulations. In addition, last month, Singapore embarked on the largest money-laundering investigation in its history, which pitted Malaysian state investment fund, Malaysia Development Bhd, against domestic regulation.

As a result, MAS will be dedicating its personnel and efforts to an anti-money laundering department with the aim to help facilitate and streamline local enforcement of regulations. While the central banking authority already boasts a program that accomplishes this aim, MAS will be restructuring it under one umbrella department, which is slated to launch on August 1, 2016.

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