A majority of Singapore's most important local and global banks — including DBS, OCBC, Citigroup, and Deutsche — have become embroiled in the investigation into a S$1 billion money laundering scheme.
Ten individuals from China, Cyprus, Turkey, and Vanuatu were apprehended in coordinated raids involving 400 law enforcement officers as a part of the investigation into a money laundering ring. They are suspected of laundering proceeds from overseas criminal activities, including scams, online gambling, and document forgery. Authorities seized assets like luxury homes, cars, designer handbags, cash, and gold bars, collectively valued at S$1 billion.
Prosecutors have said they are seeking documents from at least 10 financial institutions on their relationships with investment companies linked to the alleged launderers. The Monetary Authority of Singapore has made clear that it will take "firm action" against those firms found to have breached anti-money laundering rules.
This investigation has raised concerns about Singapore's reputation as a clean and transparent financial hub, with some critics accusing the government of being too open to foreign money and overseas entities. "If we provide a warm welcome to very dirty businesses . . . then we can't expect to escape without a stain on our 'squeaky clean' reputation," said Kenneth Jeyaretnam, Secretary-General of the opposition Reform party.