Not Reporting Suspicious Transactions? You Could Be Facing Higher Fines
Failure to report suspicious transactions and terrorism financing will be dealt with harsher penalties, as laws are being updated and enforcement increased in Singapore in a bid to fight against these crimes. Changes to the legislation were passed in Parliament and will affect the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act, and the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (CDSA).
These enhanced and stricter penalties are a necessary measure to curb the growing volume and complexity of financial transactions. Because of this, crimes have become harder to tackle. Singapore, in the last 5-years alone, has witnessed at least 70 convictions annually for money laundering activities. In 2016, there were six convictions in Singapore for crimes of terrorism financing. Clearly, there is a need to strengthen the country’s defences against such crimes. Under the Suspicious Transaction Report (STR), it is considered an offence if you do not report a property which is liked to criminal conduct or drug dealing.
Offenders Will Face A Maximum Fine of $250,000
Individuals with a high culpability level who fail to report terrorism financing offences could potentially face a maximum fine of $250,000, under the increased enforcement powers which were passed in a new legislation. This is a significant increase from the current $50,000. The maximum jail term for these crimes however, remains at 5-years imprisonment. Individuals with a lower level of culpability will be faced with a maximum fine of $250,000 for failure to report suspicious transactions related to criminal conduct or drug dealing. This is an increase from the current $20,000.
Corporations on the other hand, will be facing much larger fine amounts, with the maximum being $1 million or twice the value of the property or services related to terrorism financing. This latter’s amount could be even higher, and corporations will be facing this penalty because of the higher level of culpability due to their professional obligations. This is yet another significant increase from the current fine of $250,000.
These changes made to the current CDSA will allow Singapore to exchange financial intelligence with a much bigger network of financial intelligence units. This includes units from overseas jurisdictions, which will enable Singapore to effectively take money mules to task. Singapore is an international financial hub, which makes it a potential target for illicit funds. There are serious risks involved if terrorism and money laundering activities are not properly addressed. The proposed changes are set to strengthen the current frameworks and combat these criminal activities in a more effective manner.