Two Cypriot nationals held in Singapore anti-laundering raids

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Two Cypriot nationals were arrested after Singapore authorities seized assets worth nearly US$750 mln in sweeping raids against a suspected international money laundering ring, police said.

During the operation, which targeted locations across the city-state on Tuesday, the police arrested 10 foreign nationals — from China, Turkey, Cambodia, Cyprus, and Vanuatu.

Singapore police said Wednesday that nine men and one woman, aged between 31 and 44, were arrested for their suspected involvement in money laundering and forgery offences and resisting arrest.

The Cypriot passport holders were named Su Haijin, a 40-year-old charged with one count of resisting lawful apprehension and Wang Dehai, a 34-year-old charged with one count of money laundering.

Authorities also seized properties, vehicles, and luxury items such as bags and watches in a haul that police said had a total value of Sg$1 billion (US$736 million).

Police said they discovered a group that was laundering proceeds from “overseas organised crime activities including scams and online gambling”.

Also seized were bank accounts with an estimated balance of more than Sg$110 mln, cash amounting to more than Sg$23 mln, and documents with information on virtual assets, police said.

Over 250 luxury bags and watches, more than 120 electronic devices such as computers and mobile phones, 270 pieces of jewellery, and two gold bars were also seized.

More than 400 officers took part in the raids, during which the suspects were arrested from luxury homes and high-end condominiums.

“Investigations are ongoing. More assets may be seized (and) bank accounts frozen,” police said.

Singapore is a global financial hub and has strict laws against laundering illicit funds, which can carry up to 10 years in jail. (source agencies)