MAS sets up dedicated teams to combat money laundering

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SINGAPORE (June 13): The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Monday said it is setting up dedicated departments to fight money laundering and strengthen enforcement.

“Like all major international financial and business centres, Singapore’s financial sector faces the risk of being used as a conduit for money laundering and terrorist financing activities,” MAS said in a statement.

Starting Aug 1, MAS’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Department will streamline the existing responsibilities for regulatory policies relating to money laundering and other illicit financing risks.

In addition, a dedicated supervisory team will be set up to monitor these risks and carry out onsite supervision of how financial institutions manage these risks.

Singapore’s central bank said the new structure will enhance supervisory focus. These functions used to be carried out by different departments in MAS.

MAS will also centralise its enforcement functions under a new Enforcement Department, which will continue to jointly investigate capital markets misconduct with the Commercial Affairs Department.

In addition, the new department will be responsible for enforcement actions arising from regulatory breaches of MAS’s banking, insurance and capital markets regulations.

MAS said a “strong enforcement capability” is necessary to conduct rigorous investigations of suspected violations and misdemeanours, as well as to take swift and appropriate action against offenders.

"As our financial centre grows in scale, sophistication, and connectivity, so does the risk of criminal elements abusing our financial system,” says MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon. “MAS is resolved to ensure that Singapore remains a clean and trusted financial centre.”