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Singapore Hands Another Prison Sentence in Anti-money Laundering Case

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Last summer, Singapore conducted a massive police operation that included raids in many locations. With the raids, law enforcement sought to dismantle a criminal organization that was involved in money laundering and illegal gambling. The police operation resulted in the arrest of 10 foreign nationals.

On Monday this week, the last person out of the detainees was sentenced to prison. The Singapore Police Force (SPF) confirmed that 36-year-old Vanuatu national identified with the initials S.J. was the last to receive a sentence in the elaborate money laundering operation.

The man initially faced more than a dozen charges, including four money laundering counts and eight counts of document forgery, among other charges. The 36-year-old man pleaded guilty to a single charge of money laundering under Singapore’s Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes Act’s Section 54(1)(c). As a result, the Vanuatu national was sentenced to 17 months in prison.

Running an Illegal Online Gambling Website

Investigating the large-scale case, police uncovered that the 36-year-old was involved in an illegal online gambling business. S.J. played a key role in the management of workers for the illegal gambling website and oversaw advertising. In exchange, the 36-year-old man benefitted from earning a percentage of the money spent by gamblers online.

During the raids last summer, law enforcement seized assets worth S$187 million ($138.2 million) from S.J., as well as his wife and other relevant related parties. Subsequently, the State Court confirmed that 95% or S$179 million ($132.3 million) was forfeited to the State.

The 36-year-old, according to an investigation, submitted fraudulent documents to cover up money obtained from criminal activities between November 2020 and May 2023. At the time, the man submitted fake documents to his bank as a method to cover the source of his wealth.

One of the fraudulent documents was related to the sale of an expensive apartment in the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. While searching the 36-year-old’s residence, law enforcement found S$550,903 ($408,000) in cash in a safe. According to police, the cash proceeds also came from unlawful activity.

A Total of Ten People Were Sentenced

As noted, the massive raids saw 10 people face accusations and sentences. In total, law enforcement seized a sum of more than S$1 billion ($738.9 million) in funds and assets related to the criminal activities. Of that total, S$944 million ($697.5 million) was forfeited to the State.

Offenders in the large-scale criminal organization faced sentences between 13 months and 17 months of imprisonment. A large percentage of the assets belonging to the group sentenced for their participation in unlawful activities were also seized.

An investigation is currently ongoing against 17 other individuals. According to the SPF, those individuals are currently not in Singapore.

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