No significant funds from Burmese companies and individuals found in Singapore banks: MAS

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SINGAPORE: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Tuesday (February 23) that its regular monitoring of the banking system had failed to find “large funds” from Burmese individuals and businesses in Singapore banks.

Myanmar’s military seized power earlier this month and arrested leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) over allegations of fraud in last year’s elections which were won by the NLD .

Several countries, including the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, have imposed sanctions on the Burmese military following the coup in recent days, including freezing assets and imposing travel bans. to individual members of the military.

“The MAS expects financial institutions to remain vigilant in the face of all transactions that could present risks to the institution, including transactions with companies and individuals subject to financial sanctions from foreign jurisdictions”, the regulator said in response to questions about funds from Burmese companies and individuals in banks. in Singapore.

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“The MAS also expects financial institutions in Singapore, as always, to comply with MAS regulations that implement United Nations Security Council resolutions and to guard against the flow of funds that may be related to activities. illegal. “

The regulator added that it “closely monitors” financial institutions to verify that processes are in place to ensure compliance and will take appropriate enforcement action in the event of serious breaches.

READ: What does the military regime mean for foreign investment in Myanmar?

The European Union has also approved sanctions targeting the Myanmar military and their economic interests and refuses to financially support the government’s reform programs.

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On February 4, the UN Security Council issued a statement calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other detained leaders and stressing the need to maintain democracy, but did not impose sanctions. for the coup.

READ: Widespread sanctions on Myanmar would hurt ordinary people: Vivian Balakrishnan

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan called last week not to impose “generalized sanctions” on Myanmar, saying such actions would hurt ordinary people the most.

Speaking in parliament, Dr Balakrishnan said Singapore hoped for “peaceful resolution and national reconciliation” in Myanmar, and called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other leaders.

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He noted that Singapore is the largest foreign investor in Myanmar, with cumulative approved investments of US $ 24 billion in December of last year, and that the bulk of Singapore’s investment in Myanmar has taken place over the years. last five years under the government of the NLD.

READ: Singapore says Myanmar’s use of lethal force against unarmed protesters ‘inexcusable’ after reported deaths

The companies made the decision to invest in Myanmar for business reasons and not because of “political influence or political suggestion” from the government, he said, adding that the companies could seeing promising opportunities in Myanmar in democratic transition.

“I say all of this to avoid suggestions that we should now interfere for political reasons in business decisions,” Dr Balakrishnan said.

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