Singapore Central Bank MAS Fines Vistra Trust $820,000 for Failure in Anti-Money Laundering & Source of Wealth
21st January 2022 | Singapore
Singapore Central Bank Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has fined Vistra Trust $820,000 (S$1.1 million) for failure to comply with Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements. Between April 2019 to June 2019, MAS had uncovered serious breaches of MAS’ AML/CFT requirements for trust companies by Vistra Trust, placing it at a higher risk of being used as a conduit for illicit activities. Vistra Trust did not implement adequate procedures to determine if trust relevant parties (settlor, the beneficiary, the trustee etc) presented a higher risk for money laundering (ML) or terrorism financing (TF). Vistra Trust had also filed to perform adequate enhanced customer due diligence (CDD) for higher risk account, including not establishing source of wealth and source of funds, and failure to obtain senior management approval. MAS had fined Vistra Trust $820,000, and directed Vistra Trust to appoint an independent party to validate the adequacy and effectiveness of its remediation measures and report its findings to MAS.
“ Singapore Central Bank MAS Fines Vistra Trust $820,000 for Anti-Money Laundering Failure “
Ms Loo Siew Yee, Assistant Managing Director (Policy, Payments & Financial Crime), MAS:
“Financial institutions play a critical role in guarding against the risk of illicit financing activities in Singapore. A specific area of risk relates to trust structures being abused by criminals to conceal illicit proceeds.
Boards and Senior Management of trust companies must ensure that higher risk trust accounts are identified and subject to robust ML/TF controls. MAS will take strong actions against any financial institution that fails to meet our regulatory standards for anti-money laundering.”
Composition of AML/CFT offences
MAS’ AML/CFT requirements for trust companies are set out in MAS Notice TCA-N03 on Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism – Trust Companies. Each breach of Notice TCA-N03 is an offence punishable under section 27B(2) of the MAS Act, where the maximum prescribed fine is S$1,000,000 per offence. The breach is compoundable under section 176 of the MAS Act.