September 22, 2023

Busted: Singapore Uncovers $735 Million Crypto Scandal – Here’s What We Know

Singapore’s police department has revealed a mammoth bust involving a potential money laundering case valued at approximately $735 million, a significant portion of which encompasses cryptocurrencies. This latest bust comes amid financial hubs across the globe racing to regulate the burgeoning crypto sector.

Deep Dive Into The Crackdown

While crypto has been lauded for its potential in reshaping the financial landscape, its pseudonymous nature has also led to increasing concerns about its potential misuse.

Related Reading: Surge In Crypto Demand Powers Sygnum’s Singapore Brokerage Expansion

On Tuesday, the Singaporean police arrested 10 foreign nationals, predominantly holding Chinese passports, under grave suspicions of involvement in an intricate web of money laundering. The individuals also face charges related to forgery and resisting lawful arrest.

In terms of assets, the operation was vast in its scope. Authorities managed to seize 94 properties and 50 vehicles, cumulatively valued at roughly 815 million Singaporean dollars. Additionally, bank accounts tied to the operation, totaling over 35 in number, have been frozen.

These accounts reportedly held a balance exceeding 110 million Singaporean dollars. Interestingly, alongside these tangible assets, the police also procured 11 documents detailing virtual assets, although the exact valuation of these cryptocurrencies remains undisclosed.

Singapore’s latest crackdown underscores the city-state’s commitment to ensuring that this new frontier of finance does not become a hotbed for illicit activities.

The Singaporean authorities’ proactive stance on the matter resonates with the global narrative of making sure that cryptocurrencies do not provide an unchecked corridor for financial crimes.

Monetary Authority Of Singapore’s Role And Forward Vision

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the nation’s central bank and financial regulatory authority, played an instrumental role in the crackdown. It actively collaborated with the police, leveraging its financial expertise to identify potentially compromised funds within the nation’s financial ecosystem.

Ho Hern Shin, the Deputy Managing Director of the MAS, emphasized the significance of the bust. He noted that while Singapore continues to evolve as a crucial node in the global financial network, it remains susceptible to such transnational financial crimes.

He further added that this incident serves as a reminder of the ongoing need to fortify defenses against such illicit activities, implying a more collaborative approach with financial institutions in the future.

The case underscores the inherent vulnerabilities that global financial hubs, including Singapore, face in terms of transnational money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

Meanwhile, as the nation continues to uncover illicit acts, it has also showcased its further interest in the crypto industry. On Tuesday, the MAS released a new regulation to provide more regulatory clarity for the industry.

This regulation was particularly for stablecoin issuers in the country stipulating key requirements these entities need to fulfill to perform stablecoin-related services such as issuance and custody.

The global crypto market cap value on TradingView
The global cryptocurrency market cap value on the 1-day chart. Source: Crypto TOTAL Market Cap on

Featured image from Unsplash, Chart from TradingView

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