Singapore plans rules to detect money laundering

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SINGAPORE, Oct 27 (Reuters) Singapore will introduce new measures in November to try to detect money laundering and terrorism financing, the city-state's police said.

From November 1, anyone carrying or posting cash or negotiable instruments of more than 20,650 dollar or the equivalent in foreign currency, in or out of Singapore, will have to submit a report to immigration authorities, police said.

''This measure is intended to detect and monitor the movements of currency or bearer negotiable instruments by cash couriers supporting terrorism financing or money laundering activities,'' police said in a statement late yesterday.

''It is not a currency control measure,'' it added.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a deputy finance minister, said in September that Singapore planned to raise the maximum fine for money laundering and terrorism financing 10-fold to 1 million Singapore dollar.

The tiny but wealthy Southeast Asian country, which is trying to become a key private banking and asset management centre in Asia, figured on a US State Department list in 2004 as a centre of ''primary concern'' for money laundering.

Money laundering is the processing of cash or other property derived from criminal activity to disguise its illegal origin.

Singapore is the fifth-biggest currency trading centre in the world and the second biggest in Asia after Tokyo, according to the Bank of International Settlements.

It accounts for 5.8 per cent of global currency turnover, with an average daily turnover of 231 billion dollar, BIS said last month.

It is the biggest trading centre for emerging market currencies in the world.

REUTERS LPB SSC1251

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