SINGAPORE (Jul 22): The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has fined Asiaciti Trust Singapore Pte Ltd (ATSPL) $1.1 million for its failure to implement adequate checks against money laundering.

Between 2007 and 2018, Asiaciti Trust Singapore committed “serious breaches” of MAS’ Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements for trust companies, said MAS in a press release. 

“ATSPL did not implement adequate AML/CFT policies and procedures, and did not subject its AML/CFT controls to independent audits. These failings hindered ATSPL’s ability to detect and mitigate [money laundering and terrorism financing] risks associated with its higher-risk customers,” said MAS in a Wednesday statement.

The composition penalty is a compounded figure of the maximum $1 million fine under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism – Trust Companies.

The company failed to determine if its business contact with trust relevant parties presented a higher risk for money laundering or terrorism financing. “Consequently, ATSPL failed to establish, by appropriate and reasonable means, the source of wealth of an effective controller (EC) of a fund. ATSPL had simply relied on the EC’s representations regarding his source of wealth without obtaining information to adequately corroborate his claims.”

Additionally, the company did not enhance monitoring of higher-risk customers, particularly in the background and purpose of “unusually large transactions with no obvious economic purpose”, undertaken by “politically exposed” customers.

The composition penalty is a compounded figure of the maximum $1 million fine under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism – Trust Companies. “ATSPL has paid the penalty in full and taken remedial actions to address the risk management deficiencies that led to the breaches,” said MAS.

Established in 1978, Asiaciti Trust is an international trust and corporate services provider that has operated here since 1980. According to Asiaciti’s website, the trust is “family-owned [and] fully independent”, and has operations in Singapore, Hong Kong, the Cook Islands, Dubai, Nevis, New Zealand, Panama and Samoa.

“Financial institutions must play their part in detecting and disrupting attempts to abuse our financial system for illicit purposes,” said Loo Siew Yee, Assistant Managing Director (Policy, Payments & Financial Crime), MAS.

“Trust companies are required to implement robust AML/CFT controls, with policies and processes that effectively mitigate risks from vehicles or trust structures of customers. MAS will not hesitate to take action against FIs [financial institutions] that fail to meet the standard required under our AML/CFT regulations.”