Sing. Minister: Money laundering investigation not due to external pressure

Singapore, Money laundering, Bank heist, Money laundering

Singapore’s Home Affairs and Law Minister says that the investigations into the billion-dollar money laundering case were the result of suspicious transaction reports (STRs) from financial companies, not external pressure.

K. Shanmugam told Chinese publication Linhe Zaobao that the crackdown “sends a clear message that we will act firmly against these kinds of illegal activities in Singapore”.

A series of raids in August revealed the money laundering ring, allegedly led by 10 foreigners, with more than SG$1.8 billion ($1.32 billion) in assets.
The Singaporean minister denies that the raids were linked to a visit by China’s Foreign Minister on August 10th, stating “We didn’t start the investigations at the request of some foreign country or party or because of external pressure.”

The official assured that the probe into the illegal money laundering group had been proceeding for months, initially started due to the STRs from financial institutions and other tips.

“Just because a country says arrest so-and-so doesn’t mean we go and arrest. It’s got to be illegal in Singapore. We need to be satisfied and we need to know that things have happened which are contrary to our laws, then we will take action – regardless of what others say,” the official told the publication.

The 10 suspects arrested are suspected of participating in illegal online gambling operations, the proceeds of which they attempted to laundering through Singapore.

“If you do anything illegal in Singapore, like forge documents or commit crimes, or do illegal things overseas and then try to launder your criminal proceeds here, action will be taken,” stated Shanmugam.

Prosecutors are now alleging that the network of suspects involved in the money laundering case could extend beyond the 10 already arrested, claiming links to organized crime syndicates overseas.

Nine out of the 10 detainees have been found to have links to a gambling syndicate in Cambodia, according to the Straits Times, with additional links to an online gambling website formerly operated out of the Philippines.