Singapore to stop issuing $10,000 notes

Singapore business district
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The wealthy island nation of Singapore is set to discontinue the issuance of the $10,000 ($7,998) note in a bid to lower the risk of money laundering, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the ABS Financial Crime Seminar on Wednesday, MAS deputy managing Ong Chong Tee said more advanced and secure payment systems meant there was less demand for large value cash transactions. He said the S$10,000 note would be officially discontinued from 1 October 2014.

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"Existing S$10,000 notes in circulation will remain legal tender, including all notes under the Currency Inter-changeability Agreement with Brunei. However, we expect the stock of such notes to dwindle over time, as worn notes are returned to us and not replaced," he said.

In a further attempt to crack down on financial crime, Ong said the MAS was planning to impose more severe penalties on financial institutions for breaches of the anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing (AML/CFT) regime.

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"In addition to deterring errant behavior, this move will reinforce our preventive supervisory approach, and draw financial institutions' attention to more severe instances of deficiencies and breaches," he added.

A National Risk Assessment report published in January this year identified that high risk sectors for money laundering in Singapore were the cash intensive and internationally oriented ones, such as casinos and remittance agents. Virtual currencies and large value precious stones and metals dealings were also identified as areas of potential risk.

According to United Nations estimates highlighted in Ong's speech, the amount of money laundered globally totals between 2 and 5 percent of global gross domestic product annually, or between $800 billion and $2 trillion a year.

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