Employees to be trained to fight money laundering

by L&D01 Jun 2016
In light of events such as the release of the Panama Papers, there has been training proposed for corporate service providers in Singapore to step up the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.

The idea of the training is to ensure that lawyers, accountants and other corporate service providers are as well-equipped as possible to comply with regulations, according to Kenneth Yap, chief executive of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

Yap told a conference for corporate service providers that they are very much the first line of defence in the fight against illicit movements of money.

"Indeed, the ongoing Panama Papers episode has refocused global attention on professional service providers and jurisdictions that may have facilitated illicit activities,” Yap was quoted as saying by The Straits Times.

“It is therefore crucial that (corporate service providers) have robust systems and processes in place to prevent abuse of corporate vehicles for criminal or other illegitimate activities."

The Panama Papers are approximately 11.5 million leaked documents created by Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca.

The papers have exposed the many ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes, and high-profile politicians such as Vladimir Putin have been linked to the controversy. 

Yap added that continuing education is vital to upholding standards of the industry, and said ACRA is in discussion with professional bodies to consider running such courses.

The training is expected to take about half a day on a regular basis.

ACRA is still seeking feedback from the industry on the program and will announce details at a later date.

Eva Spaete, head of legal and compliance at Hawksford Singapore, said the company welcomes mandatory compliance training, particularly in the context of the Panama Papers, 1Malaysia Development Bhd and the shutdown of BSI Bank.

"The industry is clearly moving towards a stringent approach on compliance,” Spaete was quoted as saying by The Straits Times.

“It will enable them to join hands in a combined nationwide effort to retain Singapore's stance as a prime and, most of all, clean financial and business hub."