SINGAPORE TO CRIMINALIZE TAX EVASION BY 1 JULY 2013

In October 2011, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS“) announced its intention to include tax offences as a predicate offence for money laundering in Singapore. This policy intention was reiterated by the MAS in February 2012 when the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF“) made recommendations to include laundering the benefits of tax crimes as a money laundering offence.

On 9 October 2012, the MAS confirmed that the new legislation to implement this change will take effect on 1 July 2013. The MAS also released a consultation paper titled “Designation of Tax Crimes as Money Laundering Predicate Offences in Singapore”. The consultation paper includes a proposed definition of serious tax crimes to be included as money laundering predicate offences.

Tax evasion is currently not a predicate offence under Singapore´s main anti money laundering (“AML“) legislation – the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (“CDSA“). The CDSA makes it a crime to engage in the money laundering of benefits from a total of 417 predicate offences, ranging from criminal breach of trust to dealing with the property of terrorists. A predicate offence is a crime that is a part of another offence.

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