International

Singapore seizes, freezes $1.76b assets in money laundering case

Singapore police have seized or frozen more than $1.76 billion worth of assets in one of the biggest money laundering cases ever uncovered in the city-state, local media reported Wednesday.

Authorities had seized assets worth nearly $750 million in sweeping raids against a suspected international money laundering ring last month.

During the operation police arrested 10 foreign nationals — from China, Turkey, Cambodia, Cyprus and Vanuatu — members of a group suspected to be laundering proceeds from overseas criminal activity including scams and online gambling.

Bank accounts, cash, documents with information on virtual assets, properties, vehicles, and luxury items such as bags and watches were seized during the raids.

Police said Wednesday they had conducted additional operations and seized additional assets, bringing the total amount involved to more than Sg$2.4 billion ($1.76 billion), according to local media.

The trove of seized assets now includes bank accounts containing an estimated value of over Sg$1.127 billion ($828 million) and more than $55.8 million in cash.

It also includes 68 gold bars, 294 luxury bags and 164 luxury watches, jewellery and electronic devices, local broadcaster CNA reported.

More than 110 properties and 62 vehicles with a total estimated value of over Sg$1.242 billion have now been issued with prohibition of disposal orders, CNA reported, meaning they cannot be sold.

Police did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

Singapore is a global financial hub, and has strict laws against laundering illicit funds, which can carry up to 10 years in jail.

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