Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore: cryptocurrency transactions are subject to AML/CFT

Singapore legislation does not distinguish between transactions related to Fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies, when it comes to laws on combating money laundering and financing of terrorism, said Deputy Prime Minister of the country.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam (Tharman Shanmugaratnam), Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore and responsible for the work of the Central Bank, said this, speaking at the parliamentary session, after the corresponding question received from the Deputy Fu Mei har (Foo Mee Har).

The Deputy asked what «levers» available to the financial regulator of Singapore (MAS) and law enforcement agencies when it comes to enforcement of AML/CFL in respect of transactions of bitcoin that are not subject to the usual regulatory oversight of traditional markets. The answer of Deputy Prime Minister was unambiguous:

«When it comes to money laundering or the financing of terrorism, Singapore’s laws do not distinguish between transactions performed with the use of Fiat currency, virtual currency or other new ways to transfer funds… Therefore, the requirements of the MAS AML/CFT apply to all types of financial institutions, regardless of transactions in traditional currencies or virtual».

Despite repeated warnings
for investors looking to invest in cryptocurrencies, the Central Bank of Singapore insists on the regulation, which will lead operations of a number of retail payment services, including cryptocurrency exchanges, in accordance with the Law on payment services. In accordance with the regulatory framework, all payment services will be subject to a single legislation under which the authorities will be able to observe the work of cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms.

Shanmugaratnam also referred to the Law in its response, reiterating the Central Bank’s intention to claim requirements regarding compliance with AML/CFT for intermediaries. «At some stage FIATA currency must be exchanged for virtual currency, or Vice versa, the intermediaries who sell or exchange virtual currency,» the official said.

Finally, the Vice-Premier stressed that MAS is closely monitoring the «still developing» cryptocurrency space because intends to adopt a balanced approach that promotes innovation. He said:

«Like most innovations in cryptocurrency are new opportunities, but also risks. MAS is closely monitoring these innovations and examines the approaches followed by other countries. The basic idea is that our policies and rules promoted the development of innovation and reduced risks, including risks of money laundering and financing of terrorism through cryptocurrency transactions.»

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