Singapore Banks Tightens Customer Checks Following $1.8 Billion Laundering Scandal

Singapore Banks Tightens Customer Checks Following $1.8 Billion Laundering Scandal

Key Insights

  • Singapore banks are implementing stricter client checks due to a $1.8 billion money laundering scandal.
  • Customers are being informed of longer waiting times for new account openings and potential closures of existing accounts.
  • In a recent arrest, Singapore police apprehended 10 individuals involved in one of the nation’s largest money laundering cases, seizing assets totaling $1.8 billion, including property, vehicles, gold bars, cash, and cryptocurrency.

Singapore banks have tightened checks on clients from a number of countries due to a scandal involving laundering 2.4 billion Singapore dollars ($1.8 billion), Bloomerg writes, citing sources.

Lenders have warned customers that the waiting period for opening private banking accounts has increased from less than a month to three to four months, and some existing accounts have been closed, sources said.

Countries Under Close Scrutiny

Banks check clients from China, Turkey, Vanuatu, Saint Kitts and Nevis, the Dominican Republic and Cyprus especially carefully.

If you have a passport from the People’s Republic of China or any other of the countries whose citizens are the suspects in the case (…), this is a red flag, said MarketsXplora financial analyst.

Last month, Singapore police arrested 10 people in one of the largest money laundering cases in the country’s history, seizing S$2.4 billion in assets including property, cars, gold bars, cash and cryptocurrency assets. The suspects were denied bail. All of them are Chinese citizens, in addition, some have passports from other countries.

As part of the investigation, the Singapore authorities began inspections not only of banks, but also of precious metals dealers, real estate agencies and golf clubs. Authorities have also faced criticism for allowing the scheme to take place despite the country’s strict anti-money laundering laws.

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