Singapore central bank says working with police in Wirecard probe

The logo of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is pictured at its building in Singapore February 21, 2013.  — Reuters pic
The logo of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is pictured at its building in Singapore February 21, 2013. — Reuters pic

SINGAPORE, June 30 — Singapore's central bank is working with the city-state's police to scrutinise collapsed German payments firm Wirecard's local operations, it said yesterday, adding that local authorities had also reached out to foreign agencies.

Wirecard filed for insolvency last week owing creditors almost US$4 billion (RM17.15 billion) after disclosing a US$2.1 billion hole in its accounts that its auditor EY said was the result of a sophisticated global fraud.

Singapore's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), the police unit that deals with white-collar crime, had begun criminal investigations into Wirecard's Singapore operations in February 2019.

“In view of recent developments in Wirecard AG, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) are collaborating with CAD to scrutinise other possible aspects of the case,” the MAS said in a statement late yesterday.

It said that due to the cross-border nature of some of the transactions, Singapore authorities had contacted foreign agencies for further information and were also prepared to assist in their investigations.

The Philippines' anti-money laundering agency said yesterday that it would conduct a “swift and thorough” investigation into Wirecard. The South-east Asian country became involved after Wirecard initially claimed it kept the US$2.1 billion in two Philippine banks.

Just before Wirecard's implosion, the MAS said it had asked Wirecard's domestic entities to ensure that they keep customer funds arising from their local payment processing activities in the country's banks.

Yesterday the MAS said it was also in touch with relevant financial institutions in the city-state to determine if there had been any abuse of Singapore's financial system for illicit purposes.

“We will take firm action if we find evidence of criminal behaviour or serious lapses in anti-money laundering controls,” it said. — Reuters

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