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Singapore probes property agents’ roles in laundering case: ST

Buildings in Singapore, on Monday, June 5, 2023. Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg
Buildings in Singapore, on Monday, June 5, 2023. Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)

By Elffie Chew

(Bloomberg) — Singapore’s Council for Estate Agencies is investigating property agents who might have facilitated deals linked to the S$1 billion ($737 million) money laundering case in the city state, Straits Times reported Saturday.

Property agencies and their agents are required to conduct due diligence on their clients when they facilitate real estate transactions, the newspaper said, citing an unnamed person from the CEA, which governs the industry in Singapore. The number of property agents under investigation wasn’t given.

Those who fail to comply with anti-money laundering rules can face disciplinary action, according to the CEA. Breaching these regulations could entail a fine of up to S$100,000 per case for property agents and up to S$200,000 per case for property agencies, as well as the suspension or revocation of a property agency’s license or an agent’s registration.

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Singapore charged 10 foreigners last week in one of its biggest money laundering and forgery cases involving about S$1 billion of properties, luxury cars, cash and other assets. The gang was arrested following simultaneous raids Aug. 15 at high-end bungalows and condominiums, according to a statement from the police. The 10 included nationals from China, Cyprus and Turkey.

Local authorities prohibited the disposal of assets including 94 properties and 50 vehicles with an estimated value of more than S$815 million. The group was suspected to be involved in laundering the proceeds of crime from their overseas activities including scams and online gambling.

Police said they are unable to comment on the reports filed as investigations are ongoing, according to the newspaper.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.