Singapore National Asset Recovery Strategy 2024

Singapore National Asset Recovery Strategy 2024

As a global financial and trade hub, Singapore knows the importance of adopting an effective framework in maintaining its international reputation. For this purpose, Singapore has enacted a robust legal framework for countering financial crimes.  The Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Steering Committee, in association with the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, have jointly issued The National Asset Recovery Strategy, 2024.

Asset recovery is one of the key priorities of Singapore’s AML regime. It aims to deprive criminals of their illicit gains, thereby removing the financial incentive for laundering their monies in Singapore. However, money laundering (ML) and other financial crimes are constantly evolving, increasing socio-economic harm to society.

With the development of the National Asset Recovery Strategy, the AML/CFT steering committee seeks to deprive criminals of their illicit gains, reduce the harm criminals cause to society, and provide recourse to crime victims.

The nation’s National Asset Recovery Strategy revolves around four pillars of asset recovery:

a) Detect suspicious and criminal activities, including the proceeds of crime and instrumentalities of crime.

  • Robust legal frameworks focusing on facilitating the detection of criminal activities and gathering evidence.
  • Establish information-sharing channels to facilitate regular and timely information sharing and identification of ML and predicate offence risks among government agencies and private sector stakeholders.
  • Emphasis on using technology and data analytics for prompt detection and disruption of criminal activities, criminal assets, and movement of illicit funds.
  • Highlight training and competency development for investigation officers, ensuring they are equipped to handle financial crimes effectively.

b) Deprive criminals of their ill-gotten proceeds through prompt seizure and confiscation.

  • Legal frameworks to facilitate prompt seizures and confiscations of criminal assets.
  • Operational responses and coordination among both law enforcement and prosecution agencies to effectively deprive criminals of their illicit proceeds and facilitate asset recovery.
  • Parallel ML and sectoral regulatory investigations that put a strong focus on asset recovery in the entire criminal investigation process.
  • Focus on international collaboration with foreign partners to deprive criminals of their ill-gotten gains, including criminal proceeds derived from foreign crimes.

c) Deliver maximum recovery of assets for forfeiture and restitution to victims.

  • A victim-centric approach towards asset recovery for the preservation of assets to maximise the value when returned to victims.
  • Proactive cooperation with the private sector and foreign partners in order to return recovered assets to the rightful jurisdictions and entities.
  • Develop loss prevention initiatives given the increasing prevalence of cyber-enabled crimes, particularly cyber-enabled fraud, Singapore seeks to reduce harm to innocent victims through loss prevention initiatives
  • Implement civil measures within the asset recovery regime targeting the proceeds of tax crimes and depriving criminals of their illicit proceeds.

d) Deter criminals from using Singapore to hide, move, or enjoy their illicit assets.

  • Regular review of laws to ensure effectiveness in deterring criminals and tackling emerging ML and criminal typologies.
  • Implement stringent measures to deter ML within its financial system through harsh penalties and sanctions as a deterrent to crime.
  • Adopt a whole-of-society approach for community partnerships through crime prevention programmes and whistleblowing mechanisms.

Additionally, this strategy adopts a comprehensive approach involving law enforcement, regulatory bodies, private sector partners, and public engagement to strengthen its AML capabilities continually. This collaborative approach aims to recover assets and prevent criminals from exploiting Singapore’s financial system, thereby safeguarding its integrity on the global stage.