Singapore dismantles an alleged $735 million crypto-based money laundering scheme

Singaporean law enforcement has claimed to have recovered 11 files including details on cryptocurrency holdings, it is not known how much was at stake.

Rules for the regulation of stablecoins were finalised in the city-state on Tuesday, showing that it is still dedicated to regulating the cryptocurrency business.

On Tuesday, Singaporean police announced the arrest of 10 foreign people on suspicion of money laundering. The suspects’ assets, including cryptocurrency, were valued at over S$1 billion ($735 million).

On Wednesday, police said that they had detained 10 persons, most of them were Chinese citizens, on suspicion of forgery, money laundering, and resisting legal capture.

In particular, the police took possession of 94 buildings and 50 cars valued at over S$815 million. The officials also claimed that they seized 11 papers containing information on virtual assets, albeit they did not specify the worth of the cryptocurrencies themselves.

Over 35 accounts with a combined estimated value of S$110 million were also frozen by the police. On Wednesday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said that it had helped authorities with the case’s development and the identification of possibly corrupt money and assets.

“The case highlighted that as a global financial hub, Singapore remains vulnerable to transnational (money laundering and terrorism financing) risks,” according to MAS deputy managing director Ho Hern Shin, who added that the regulator needs to work more closely with financial institutions to “strengthen our defences against these risks.”

The cryptocurrency business has flourished in Singapore, making it one of the region’s most significant financial centres. New regulations for stablecoins were only finalised by the nation on Tuesday.

A track to promote Web 3.0 technologies is part of the MAS’s fintech and innovation program, which was launched last week with a pledge of up to S$150 million over three years.

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