Crypto Holdings Included in Singapore Family Fund Checks

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  • The Monetary Authority of Singapore has intensified its oversight of family funds after a $2.2 billion money laundering case
  • Family funds in Singapore have been required to submit updated information, including cryptocurrency holdings, by the end of June
  • Failure to provide the required information will result in potential criminal prosecution

Cryptocurrencies held by family funds (FTOs) in Singapore will be examined as part of emergency checks carried out in the wake of a massive money laundering case in the country. The $2.2 billion money laundering case, which emerged last year, has highlighted regulatory gaps and has led to the country’s financial oversees, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), intensifying its oversight of these offices. FTOs must provide updated information by the end of June, including cryptocurrency holdings, or face potential criminal prosecution.

$2.2 Billion Money Laundering Scheme Busted

The investigation into Singapore’s biggest-ever money laundering case began in 2021 when police received various tips about suspicious financial activities. By early 2022, a coordinated intelligence probe was launched, which eventually revealed a complex network of individuals and activities linked to unlicensed money lending, scams, and online gambling operations, primarily in China and the Philippines.

Ten suspects were arrested and prosecuted, with the last of those found guilty on Friday. The upshot for Singapore investors is that professional firms will screen individuals and entities applying for tax incentives for money laundering and terrorist financing risks. These measures aim to enhance the confidence of single-family offices in Singapore’s robust anti-money laundering standards, with swift action to be taken to withdraw tax incentives when illicit activities are detected.

Dormant Companies Exempt

In addition to MAS’s actions, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) has ramped up efforts to remove inactive companies from the register. These companies, which have not filed annual reports for three consecutive years, pose a risk of being misused for illegal purposes. ACRA revealed that 17,000 dormant companies were removed from the register between 2018 and 2023.

Companies that have declared a dormant status are exempt from filing annual reports, unlike inactive companies that have not made such declarations.Given the alleged links between cryptocurrencies and the funding of terrorism, links that industry proponents have denied, it is no surprise that cryptocurrency holdings will also be examined for illegal activity as part of the sweep.