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 MAS Launches Digital Platform COSMIC to Combat Money Laundering, Terror financing 


MAS Launches Digital Platform COSMIC to Combat Money Laundering, Terror financing 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Monday said that it has launched COSMIC, (Collaborative Sharing of Money Laundering /TF Information & Cases), the first centralised digital platform to facilitate sharing of customer information among financial institutions (FIs) to combat money laundering (ML), terrorism financing (TF) and proliferation financing (PF) globally.

Singapore’s Financial Services and Markets (Amendment) Act 2023 and accompanying subsidiary legislation, which set out the legal basis and safeguards for such sharing, also commenced on Monday.

Following public consultation in October 2021, the Singapore government has amended the Financial Services and Markets Act 2022 (FSMA) in May 2023 to set out the legislative framework for COSMIC.

A COSMIC participant FI may share customer information with another participant FI only if the customer’s profile or behaviour displays certain objectively-defined indicators of suspicion, or “red flags.”

The FSMA requires participant FIs to have in place policies and operational safeguards to protect the confidentiality of information shared. This will allow participant FIs to share information on potential criminal behaviour while safeguarding the interests of the vast majority of customers who are legitimate.

Customers are encouraged to continue to provide timely responses if requested by FIs to provide clarifications on their risk profiles or transactions, so that FIs can make informed risk assessments, the MAS said.

Image courtesy: Monetary Authority of Singapore

Six Banks Join Hands

Curbing COSMIC was co-developed by MAS and six major commercial banks in Singapore – DBS, OCBC, UOB, Citibank, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank to curb illegal financial activities. These banks will be the participant FIs on COSMIC during its initial phase.

Information sharing is currently voluntary and focused on three key financial crime risks in commercial banking such as misuse of legal persons; misuse of trade finance for illicit purposes; and proliferation financing.

Loo Siew Yee, Assistant Managing Director (Policy, Payments & Financial Crime), MAS, said that COSMIC will enable FIs to warn each other of suspicious activities and make more informed risk assessments on a timely basis.

“It also complements the industry’s existing close collaboration with MAS and law enforcement authorities to combat financial crime. This will strengthen Singapore’s capabilities to uphold our reputation as a well-regulated and trusted financial centre,” she added.

Seizure of Assets

Singapore police have seized several assets in the city-state’s largest money laundering case that saw 10 foreigners arrested in August 2023, whose value is said to be more than $3 billion.

The police said that they also have issued prohibition of disposal orders on another 55 properties and 15 vehicles. An additional 189 luxury bags, 34 pieces of jewellery and five luxury watches were also seized.

The assets confiscated by the authorities so far include a total of 207 properties, 77 vehicles, more than $1.45 billion in bank accounts, and more than $76 million in cash in various currencies.

Global Business Magazine

Global Business Magazine

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