Singapore cracks down on casinos to combat terrorism financing

The new threshold for due diligence checks was among the measures laid out in Singapore's updated National Strategy for Countering the Financing of Terrorism.
Last Updated : 01 July 2024, 08:21 IST

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Singapore: Casinos in Singapore will soon face tighter rules on conducting due diligence checks when receiving cash as part of updated measures to counter terrorism financing, the country's gambling regulatory body said on Monday.

Due diligence checks will have to be carried out when casinos receive a cash deposit of SGD 4,000 ($2,950) or more into a customer's account - down from the current threshold of SGD 5,000.

The new threshold for due diligence checks was among the measures laid out in Singapore's updated National Strategy for Countering the Financing of Terrorism, jointly published on Monday by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

"The adjustment is made so that Singapore casinos can better combat money laundering and terrorism financing and align our requirements with FATF standards," the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) said.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is a global money laundering and terrorism financing watchdog. The Paris-based organisation held its fourth round of mutual evaluations here last week, in which 17 countries from G-20 nations were evaluated and only 4, including India, are placed in 'regular follow-up' category.

This initial revision to the threshold would be implemented this year, although authorities did not state when exactly the new requirements would kick in, Channel News Asia reported.

"Singapore has developed and implemented a systematic and comprehensive whole-of-government approach to identify, monitor, and mitigate terrorism financing risks," the authorities said in the updated report published along with the Terrorism Financing National Risk Assessment.

In its assessment, Singapore has identified its key terrorism financing threats from terrorist groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah, as well as potential spillovers from the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and tensions in the Middle East.

Self-radicalised individuals along with far-right extremism continue to pose terrorism financing threats to Singapore, the authorities said.

The key terrorism financing risk areas in 2024 are largely similar to those identified four years ago, according to the report.

Money remittance providers, including those offering cross-border online payments and unlicensed services, pose the highest risk of being targeted for terrorism financing, The Straits Times newspaper reported.

In the report, the agencies also identified online fundraising and new cross-border fast payment systems, which include services provided through bank apps and QR codes, as emerging risk areas.

The report also flagged concerns about foreign online fundraising campaigns.

The latest report supports the objectives of the National Strategy for Countering the Financing of Terrorism, launched in 2022, which comprises actions to prevent, detect, investigate and enforce aspects of terrorism financing.

Singapore will continue to partner with industry players to implement strategies and measures to tackle terrorism financing threats, said the authorities.

Authorities will also seek close collaboration with foreign counterparts, international organisations, and standard-setting bodies such as the FATF, the report said.

Published 01 July 2024, 08:21 IST

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