Singapore Raise Penalty to 10 Year Imprisonment for Money Laundering

During one of my previous posts on being money mule to carry out money laundering activities, the Singapore’s Government has once again came with amendments in the law to increase punishment for those involved in money laundering. Some changes are also been made to quicken the process to determine the offence committed by individual(s) as well.

As an effort to break down syndicates and individuals on transnational money laundering activities, Singapore’s Parliament has passed down amendment to the law on 7th July 2014, allowing the Government to deal more quickly with criminal operations and deprive offenders of their illicit gains.

One of the changes will be to the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act which maximum penalty for money laundering has been increased to 10 years imprisonment from the previous 7 years and reducing the threshold by a third for cross-border cash reporting.

In addition, amendments were also made that enforcement agencies could accept evidence, such as court judgement and statements by experts even if offences escalated from a foreign country. The amendments will smoothen the process of investigation and prosecute foreign predicate offences.


Precious Stones and Metal Dealers Sector Added to the Act

Another changes to the Act is inclusion of precious stones and metal dealers, such that dealers are required to verify a customer’s identity and file a report with Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office for cash sales exceeding S$ 20,000. Transaction records shall be kept for five years from the date of filing.

Furthermore, the dual criminality requirement for foreign tax evasion offences will also be removed, as long as the offence is criminalised in the foreign jurisdiction and is committed “wilfully” with the intent to evade tax.

Property and Jewellery Susceptible to Money Laundering Activities.

Few Members of Parliament (MPs) has rose their support for the amendments and raised that there was also a need to monitor non-finance sector such as high-end property and jewellery markets, which are just as susceptible to money laundering activities. It is also questionable out how virtual currency, such as bitcoin could be monitored as well.

Amidst of all these changes, the MPs are also concerned about the monetary and administrative costs of compliance.

Source: Maximum jail term for money laundering raised to 10 years. Today Online, 8th July 2014.

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