Singapore MAS increases AML scrutiny of onshore shell companies


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Onshore shell companies a major risk for money laundering, financial crime

In its ongoing efforts to combat money laundering, Singapore has increased its focus on onshore shell companies.

As one of the centers of global finance and trade, Singapore faces myriad money laundering risks. Leaders at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) are striving to anticipate and mitigate news risks as they arise.

In a Reuters interview, Valerie Tay of the MAS’s AML division noted that while offshore shell companies are well known for AML risks, onshore shell companies have gained favor among money launderers and others committing financial crimes.

While shell companies can have legitimate purposes, the simplicity of creating a business in Singapore makes illicit use of shell companies there appealing.

Tay said the MAS expects financial institutions operating there to vigorously adhere to AML Compliance standards in order to achieve “detection and disruption of illicit finance.”

Signs of illicit activity might include high-velocity transactions, unusually large transactions, unexpected patterns of transactions, and so on.

Singapore in prior years had been dubbed by some to be the new Switzerland in terms of its allure for private banking among the world’s wealthiest people. But it has recently advanced new legislation to combat money laundering and financial crime in various sectors as it strives to strike a a balance as a growing global financial center but not a center for financial crime.

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