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.

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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