Disputes Specialist, Shobna Chandran provides her Insights on Singapore’s High Stakes Money Laundering Case

Managing Director, Shobna Chandran, was invited to share her insights on one of the region’s biggest money-laundering cases, with the seizure of assets worth over $2.8 billion. This recent high-profile case has attracted much attention in the media as well as of the local regulators.  In particular, a few accused persons implicated in the case had made significant donations to Singapore registered charities.

While some of these charities decided to ringfence these donations, others made police reports to the police and plan to surrender these monies to the authorities. In light of this development, the Commissioner of Charities has issued an advisory to encourage all charities to review their donor records. This is to check whether they have received donations from the accused persons and entities linked to them, and file Suspicious Transaction Reports (“STR”) if needed.

Shobna shared her views on this case in an article published on Mediacorp’s Seithi on 5 October 2023.

In the article, Shobna underscores the importance of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) because charities often receive donations from various sources, both domestic and foreign, making them a target for such activities.  Accordingly, charities have to be vigilant in verifying the sources of money received and if they are not satisfied filing a STR.

Shobna emphasizes that charities should adopt and implement rigorous procedures to highlight “red flags” so that they do not end up accepting such monies. Red flags would include large donations, repeated donations from individuals or corporations (which do not have a stated philanthropic purpose), inability to clearly answer questions regarding source of funds, use of a complex web of transactions in transferring the monies, and deployment of offshore companies or vehicles. 

For the charities who received these monies, it is likely that they would have to conduct an internal investigation to identify any gaps in their compliance and regulatory mechanisms and then provide a report to the authorities as part of the remediation processes. 

Read the full article here.

For more information on the above, kindly contact Shobna Chandran.

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