What is the governing legislation?

  • Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (Cap. 65A)
  • Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act (Cap. 325)

What are the offences?

The Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act is the primary legislated enacted to combat money laundering. There are basically 4 types of money laundering offences under this act:-

  • When a person conceals, disguises, converts or transfers any property from all drug trafficking offences and other serious crimes;
  • When a person knowingly or may be reasonably believed to know that any property represents another person’s benefits from all drug trafficking offences and other serious crimes; and
  • The two other grounds are based on knowing assistance.

Additionally, tipping off is also an offence under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.

The Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act was enacted to combat the provision of financial support to terrorism. It imposes a duty to provide information pertaining to terrorism financing to the police. The failure to do so may constitute a criminal offence. Further, any person shall lodge a Suspicious Transaction report if they have possession, custody or control of any property belonging to any terrorist or terrorist entity or if they have information about any transaction or proposed transaction in respect or any property belonging to any terrorist or terrorist entity.

What are the defences?

Generally, a person may have a defence if he can prove that he did not know or had no reasonable ground to believe that the arrangement involved any property from all drug trafficking offences and other serious crimes.

Additionally for the knowing assistance offences, the person may have a defence if he can prove that he had disclosed to the appropriate person or authorities or that he had intended to do so and there is a reasonable excuse for his failure to do so.

Nonetheless the defences above may not be applicable to all types of offences.

It is a defence for a tipping-off offence if the ‘tipper’ can prove that he did not know and had no reasonable ground to suspect that the disclosure was likely to be prejudicial to the investigation.

What are the sanctions?

The penalty for the commission of a money laundering offence is a fine not exceeding SGD 200,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 7 years, or both. The penalty for a tipping-off offence is a fine not exceeding SGD 30,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or both.

The maximum penalty under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act in the case of an individual is a fine of up to SGD 500,000 or to imprisonment of a term up to 10 years or both. In any other case, to a fine not exceeding SGD 1 million.  In addition, the Public Prosecutor may apply for an order for forfeiture of property owned or controlled by or on behalf of any terrorist or terrorist entity that has been or will be used, in whole or part, to facilitate or carry out a terrorist act.

The relevant authority, being the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau has the power to seize property and freeze bank accounts.

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