The Singapore Police Force has made a significant stride in an ongoing money laundering investigation, revealing a total haul of over S$2.4 billion in seized assets. This figure represents a doubling of the reported value since the initial operation in August.
In a statement released on September 20, the Singapore Police Force announced that additional assets had been confiscated as a result of continued police operations. The assets seized thus far include a diverse range of items, with a combined worth exceeding S$2.4 billion. These assets comprise over S$76 million in cash, S$38 million worth of cryptocurrency, 294 luxury bags, 546 pieces of jewellery, 68 gold bars, 204 electronic devices, and 164 luxury watches valued at over S$1.127 million.
Furthermore, prohibition disposal orders have been issued for 110 properties and 64 vehicles, collectively valued at S$1.2 million. Additionally, bottles of liquor, wine, and various ornaments were also seized. Investigations into these assets are ongoing.
This extensive operation is part of one of Singapore’s most significant money laundering cases, involving ten foreign nationals of Chinese origin holding passports from various countries, including Cyprus, Turkey, Cambodia, Ni-Vanuatu, and China. The suspects are accused of laundering funds derived from criminal activities and committing forgery.
While ten suspects have been apprehended, the police reported that eight others remain at large, and 12 individuals are assisting with the case. Initially, the value of frozen cash and assets exceeded S$1 billion, but this figure increased to S$1.8 billion in September, as per prosecutors, following further investigations.
One of the arrested foreign suspects, Vang Shuiming, a Turkish national, faces charges of money laundering and forgery. Shuiming sought bail, but his request was denied. According to a prosecutor, Shuiming and his brother are also wanted in China for illegal gambling.
The most recent announcement by the Singapore Police Force underscores the sheer magnitude of the assets confiscated, now totaling S$2.4 billion. These assets encompass a wide range of items, including substantial amounts of cash, cryptocurrencies, gold bars, luxury items, properties, and vehicles. The police, however, have not disclosed specific details regarding the latest seizures or the methods used to locate them.
This revelation comes on the heels of a large-scale operation conducted the previous month, during which 400 police officers executed coordinated raids across Singapore, resulting in the arrest of ten foreign nationals. These individuals are suspected of laundering the proceeds of organised crime activities, which reportedly involve scams and online gambling.
During the initial raids, assets worth S$1 billion were seized, including bank accounts, luxury real estate, cars, high-end accessories, and S$23 million in cash. Additionally, gold bars and multiple passports from countries like Cyprus, Cambodia, Dominica, China, Turkey, and Vanuatu were among the confiscated assets. By early September, the value of seized assets had risen to S$1.8 billion, following leads that led authorities to assets held in Swiss banks.
This high-profile case has captured significant attention in Singapore, a nation known for its ability to attract substantial investments and private wealth, particularly in the post-pandemic era. The shocking nature of these revelations has been amplified by Singapore’s reputation for maintaining low crime rates.
Recent data from the central bank indicates a surge in Singapore’s financial growth, with assets under management increasing by 16% in 2021, reaching S$5.4 trillion. This growth outpaces the global increase of 12%, which amounted to $112 trillion in the same period.