Singapore proposes tougher anti-money laundering rules

SINGAPORE, July 15 Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:30am EDT

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SINGAPORE, July 15 (Reuters) - Singapore's central bank proposed tightening its anti-money laundering rules on Tuesday, looking to formalise regulation that would require financial firms to check more closely who their customers are.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) wants banks and other financial firms to carry out due diligence checks on customers sending or receiving funds by wire transfer if they exceed S$1500 ($1,200) and they do not already have a business relationship with them.

It is also proposing that firms do a formal risk assessment of the money laundering risks they face as an institution and to take steps to mitigate them.

Singapore's position as a major banking and wealth management centre makes it particularly vulnerable to money laundering.

Last year it made it a criminal offence to use financial institutions to evade tax, a move that followed U.S. investigations into Swiss banks for allegedly aiding tax dodgers. Like Switzerland, Singapore has tight banking secrecy rules.

The southeast Asian city-state is due to undergo an evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global standard setter for anti-money laundering, in 2015.

The proposed regulatory changes will apply to most firms in the financial industry, including banks, money changers, life insurers, trust companies and financial advisers.

The consultation will run until Aug. 14.

For more details click on: bit.ly/UaEJVw ($1 = 1.2417 Singapore Dollars) (Reporting by Rachel Armstrong; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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