SINGAPORE: Josephine Teo, Singapore’s Second Minister for Home Affairs, disclosed in Parliament on Monday (3 Oct) that the total value of assets seized in what has become Singapore’s largest money laundering case now stands at an astonishing S$2.8 billion (approximately US$2.03 billion).
This staggering amount marks a substantial increase from the initial figure of S$1 billion reported when the case first came to light in mid-August.
The seized assets encompass a wide range, including 152 properties and 62 vehicles with a collective estimated worth exceeding S$1.24 billion.
Additionally, the authorities have confiscated more than S$1.45 billion in bank accounts, over S$76 million in cash, and cryptocurrencies valued at more than S$38 million.
These include 152 properties and 62 vehicles with a total estimated value of more than S$1.24 billion; monies in bank accounts amounting to more than S$1.45 billion; cash of more than S$76 million; and cryptocurrencies of more than S$38 million.
Apart from these financial holdings, the police have also laid their hands on thousands of bottles of liquor and wine, 68 gold bars, 294 luxury bags, 164 high-end watches, and 546 pieces of jewelry.
Josephine Teo unveiled this staggering figure during her parliamentary address, shedding light on the significant developments in the ongoing investigation.
In her ministerial statement, Josephine Teo provided insights into the commencement of the Singaporean authorities’ investigation.
MPs Murali Pillai (People’s Action Party-Bukit Batok), Gan Thiam Poh (PAP-Ang Mo Kio), and Associate Professor Jamus Lim (Workers’ Party-Sengkang) directed inquiries to Ms Teo.
They sought information about potential warning signs preceding the arrests and whether investigations into the suspects would extend to criminal activities in other jurisdictions.
Ms Teo revealed that in 2021, the police received initial information about suspicious activities.
The anti-money laundering apparatus in Singapore detected warning signs, including the use of suspected forged documents to substantiate the sources of funds and bank accounts.
Financial institutions and other companies filed several suspicious transaction reports.
“police began looking separately into these alerts in early 2022, and launched a comprehensive coordinated intelligence probe.”
“The probe uncovered a web of individuals believed to have connections amongst themselves including by familiar ties.”
“The police analyzed information and probed further quietly to avoid alerting the suspects the work was kept to a very small group of offices and a decision was made to hold off any enforcement or overt investigative actions,” Ms Teo added.
The investigation continued to expand as additional individuals and assets connected to the alleged money laundering operation came to light.
The police collaborated with the Attorney General’s Chambers, affirming ample grounds to suspect criminal offenses committed within Singapore.
On 15th August of the same year, the police took decisive action, resulting in the arrest and charging of 10 individuals for various offenses, including money laundering, forgery, resisting arrest, and perverting the course of justice.
She said the criminal proceeds likely originated from activities outside of Singapore, including illegal money gambling, illegal online gambling, and unlicensed money lending.
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