Singapore’s money laundering case surpasses US$2 billion
Yeah, you too, fella. Keep frabricating facts.
Now that even CNBC has jumped on the bandwagon, throwing up an eyewatering number of over USD1.5 TRILLION dollars (according to the BCG statistic they used) flooding into Singapore from mainland China, one wonders if the US and SG governments are going to have a quiet chat about Chinese influence in a linchpin non-codified US ally in the Asia-Pacific.
The irony of it all is that Singapore is either playing dumb and feigning outrage in all of these recent revelations about money laundering by Chinese nationals living there, or desperately trying to shield itself from a storm that's brewing in its neighbourhood impacted by years of Singapore's banking industry of money laundering aided by Singapore's financial system.
The impact of Singapore's legendary secretive banking system and its historical seduction of dirty money is coming back to now bite it in its proverbials.
Australia has long been the recipient of tens of billions of dollars of Chinese "Hot Money", stolen and state supplied funds from government coffers alike by greedy criminal public servants. Much of it laundered through real estate and political parties (the ALP and Union movements in Australia). There are no rules or prohibitions for such money coming into Australia. There is if it is being taken out of Australia. Much more of it laundered first through Singapore.
In 2004, Australian journalist and TV presenter Helen Vatsikopolous aired a piece (mini documentary) on the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) network about a particular economic marriage of convenience between Singapore's Temasek fund and the late Lo Hsin Han the late opium heroin warlord from Myanmar's Golden Triangle .
Vatsikopolous described in detail how Temasek banked Lo Hsin Han's millions in drug money laundering it in joint ventures with Lo in projects Temesek was involved in Myanmar, (redevelopment of the Strand Hotel in Yangon) to selling him government bonds in Singapore. There was much more in Vatsikopolous's investigative report, much of it too hot to handle so it dropped onto the editors cutting floor.
The irony of it all was apparently lost to and amongst Singapore's ruling elite. Here they were investing the same drug money of a man whose mules they hang regularly in Changi prison on Fridays. It appeared from the documentary that Singapore does not launder money alone. It launders its high morality with it when convenient. And Lo Hsin Han's Temasek joint ventures proved that point.
Back to the Chinese problem. China has weaponizes its illicit money flows to places such as Australia, China, Canada and the US. They use it to bribe politicians, make private donations to political parties and individual politicians to buy favours and to influence legislation that is soft on China.
Former Liberal Party Foreign minister Julie Bishop became the recipient of $250,000 from Tony Abbott (Prime Minister then) when Abbott channelled part of his $750,000 "gift" from a Chinese billionaire philanthropist Huang Xiangmo in or around 2014 for his re election campaign.
The Australian government rejected the citizenship application and cancelled the permanent residency of the prominent Sydney-based Chinese businessman, Huang Xiangmo following the Bishop Abbott scandal and advise from ASIO that Huang was in fact a Chinese spy.
China has used its billions to buy its way into Australia's spy agency ASIO with the discovery that top spy Roger Uren had been sleeping with a Chinese honey pot trapper who he later married and shared more than a bed with. Uren shared sensitive security documents with Sherri Yan his Chinese spy wife who was later jailed in New York for her attempts to bribe UN officials. Uren continues to enjoy top security clearance with the agency
As Singapore continues with this charade of "uncovering" money laundering and corrupt activities by corrupt Chinese living in the island state, it would do them good to to shake the dust off their recent history in secretive "Swiss style Banking" and examine their roles in Suhartos and Marcos's billions in tainted blood money.
There is more to this sudden burst in pangs of conscience in Singapore's ruling circles. The issue of money laundering and setting up unfriendly neighbouring politicians for a fall for a pretty dollar (DS Najib) been going on for decades. But the current exposes come from within. It has its origins in the bitter sibling rivalry between Hsien Loong and his estranged brother Hsien Yang. The show has just begun.
List all clients with employment passes on a monthly salary that have account balances in excess of 100 million Singapore dollars. With massive computing power available today such queries are possible and even the minutest of needles can be found in gargantuan sized haystacks.
Banks need to take on a bigger role than merely acting as conduits for dirty money while enjoying the fees for managing the huge transactions involved.
The regime that rules the island nation was either complacent or knew about it and decided to continue with their day. One would suspect that the tip off came from the visiting CCP rep and then only did the regime take action in their backyard. How is it that all the 10 fugitives had either special passes or employment pass status? Basically they were committing a crime but were let in the nation by the very governing body. Questions have to be asked about the lapses and cracks in the system and it's rulers.
Asia Sentinel, to its credit, has been publishing quite a few articles on the matter of money-laundering into Singapore by "foreign nationals". We're told that somehow these crooks managed to bring in billions of Singapore dollars virtually undetected, that they bought huge landed properties and luxury jewelry undetected. That no one grassed them up. How is this possible in a near-totalitarian, one-party surveillance state as Singapore? That not even the Monetary Authority of Singapore, with its all-knowing boast, was caught unawares?
It's good to know the Singapore PAP autocratic regime is finally going to pull itself out of self-complacency and plug all the holes (good luck with that!) in its financial system to stop money-laundering, scamming and all associated nefarious activities related to money and wealth illegally gained or illegally transferred into Singapore real estate, bank accounts and others.
But to plug these holes, the Lee Hsien Loong regime must be completely honest with itself, for once, and say that these criminals were aided and abetted by Singapore locals in positions in organization that would facilitate such illegal movements of money. It must, at last, admit, for once, that Singapore, and Singaporeans, are not incorruptible. What has just happened does suggest structural weaknesses of Singapore society and the system of governance in Singapore, which is now fully exposed to criticisms as much as suggestions that the PAP state has failed in aspects of its financial system, that its reputation of being a regional financial hub is now underlined in red. Above all, the PAP state must ask how its financial surveillance authorities, such as MAS, singularly failed in its jurisdiction and who is to be held accountable for this severely embarrassing and monumental screw-up.
At the other end, no stone must be left unturned to find those culprits, locals and or foreigners, who helped these ten crooks in their criminal activities and then covered it all up. Also, is this activity the first in Singapore or have there been others, of whatever scale, that the PAP regime and its surveillance authorities have swept under the rug? We know the Singapore media is state-controlled, that the likes of SPH Holdings and their editors are clients of their state patrons, that freedom of the press in Singapore is as farcical as Singapore elections, its claims to being "democratic", and its pliant judicial system.
Action, not more mealy-mouth political propaganda by its ministers, must be at the forefront of getting to the kernel of truth -- now that Singapore has had a big kick in the groin in this matter, and be seen around the world as a haven for criminal activity and financial fraud. I suggest this is merely the tip of an iceberg. How big is the iceberg?