SINGAPORE — Two licensed trust companies with operations in Singapore were already under “intense scrutiny” by the local authorities before they were named in the Pandora Papers, said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong in Parliament on Thursday (3 November).
Wong was referring to the documents leaked by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on 336 prominent individuals from around the world who have established offshore structures to hold assets, assisted by 14 service providers operating in at least 38 jurisdictions.
Media organisations around the world had partnered the ICIJ to review and report on nearly 12 million files obtained by the consortium.
Wong said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) takes very seriously the recent disclosures in the Pandora papers. The MAS has anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CFT) controls in place and the Pandora papers have not raised significant concerns of such risks, he added.
One of the two companies, Asia City Trust Singapore, had paid a composition penalty of $1.1 million imposed by MAS in July last year for its failure to implement adequate AML/CFT policies and procedures. The other trust company, Trident Trust Companies Singapore, was directed by MAS in September last year to fix weaknesses detected in its risk assessment controls.
Wong assured the House that Singapore takes the integrity of its financial sector very seriously.
“As a major international financial centre, Singapore will always face the risk of illicit financial flows. What is important is that we supervise our financial institutions well and take strong enforcement actions where necessary to reduce these risks as much as possible. MAS has been doing this and will continue to do so.”
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