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Singapore highlights weapons financing in enhanced anti-money laundering bill

| By Kyle Goldsmith
The parliament of Singapore has introduced a bill requiring casinos to implement enhanced customer due diligence efforts to tackle money laundering relating to terrorism and weapons financing.

The Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Other Matters Bill includes an amendment to the current Casino Control Act requiring casino operators to carry out enhanced customer due diligence (CDD) checks.

These will help detect and prevent money laundering (ML) efforts that may support terrorism financing (TF) and proliferation financing (PF), which relates to the illegal development and supply of weapons of mass destruction.

The new measures would see CDD checks required for cash transactions or deposits of S$4,000 or more, made by casino operators in Singapore.

Currently, CDD checks are performed when casino operators either makes a single transaction of S$10,000 (£5,800/€6,850/$7,398) or more, or receives S$5,000 or more in a single transaction to be deposited into a deposit account.

In a statement dated 2 July, the Singapore ministry of home affairs said: “To align our processes with the FATF standards (Financial Action Task Force), the changes will require casino operators to also consider PF risks when conducting CDD checks. The Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) of Singapore will be empowered to issue regulations requiring casino operators to detect or prevent PF.”

The FATF is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog.

The government said it was looking to increase the effectiveness of its laws against the “evolving crime landscape” by giving its law enforcement agencies (LEAs) more powers and improving processes related to AML

The bill follows three days of discussions by the FATF in Singapore although the sovereign country doesn’t currently feature on either of the FATF’s black or grey lists which would necessitate action or increased monitoring.

The bill was introduced for a first reading in the Singapore parliament on Tuesday (2 July).

In December, Resorts World Sentosa was fined S$2.3m after failing to conduct CDD checks, breaching AML rules.

The GRA said Resorts World Sentosa breached several Singapore laws by not carrying out the required checks. These include the Casino Control Act 2006 and the Casino Control (Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing) Regulations 2009.

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