Foreign Criminals Increasingly Looking to Launder Money Through Singapore
Singapore's financial district.Reuters

Singapore has seen a 25% increase in suspicious transactions in 2013 and has confiscated over £50m in suspected proceeds of crime, according to a government agency's report.

The Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), a staff department of the Singapore Police that probes white collar crime, said it had confiscated S$115m (£53.7m) and received 22,417 suspicious transactions reports in 2013, a quarter more than the previous year, according to CAD's 2013 annual report.

The agency gave out financial intelligence to foreign agencies in 341 instances in 2013, up from 160 in 2012. The financial police also received 164 foreign requests for assistance, the report added.

CAD director Tan Boon Gin said in the annual report: "Singapore's openness as an international transport hub and financial center exposes it to cross-border money-laundering and terrorist financing risks.

"We are seeing a trend of overseas criminals seeking to launder money through Singapore bank accounts."

Anti-Money Laundering

Singapore is strengthening its anti-money laundering rules along the lines of global regulation in the wake of US probes of several Swiss banks, investigated for their dealings on behalf of American clients, Bloomberg reported.

The CAD has also created a division to probe fraud where the victim is a listed firm, reflecting an increase in the level and complexity of stock market fraud.

The agency and the nation's central bank are investigating suspected share-trading irregularities after three commodity firms - Asiasons Capital, Blumont and LionGold - lost some $6.9bn (£4bn, €5bn) in combined market value in October 2013.

Earlier in 2013, a Singapore court sentenced former Chinese local government official Li Huabo to 15 months in jail for receiving stolen money in his Singaporean bank accounts.

Li, who is appealing the verdict, was accused of a 94m yuan fraud in China.