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Russian Bought S$88m of Gold from Dealer in Changi to Launder Funds for Ukraine Invasion

A Report by CYS Global Remit Transaction Monitoring Compliance Group 

Recent headlines have brought to light a concerning instance involving a Russian individual who purchased over US$65 million (S$88 million) worth of gold bullion stored in Singapore. Allegedly, this transaction was part of a money laundering scheme to support the Russian military's actions in Ukraine. The gold was obtained from Singapore Precious Metals Exchange (SGPMX), a private trading and storage company based in Singapore, with the bullion held at Le Freeport, a secure logistics hub in Changi North Crescent. SGPMX operates similarly to a stock exchange, facilitating global gold trading through its online platform. 

The individual at the centre of this controversy, Feliks Medvedev, aged 42, faced legal action in the United States on Apr 11, 2023. Charges against him included operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and multiple counts of money laundering. Subsequently, on Feb 22, Medvedev pleaded guilty to the charges, confessing to running an unlicensed money transmitting business and facilitating the movement of over US$150 million of illicit funds through more than 1,300 transactions. 

This case underscores the pervasive nature of money laundering and its potential proximity to our everyday lives. Despite occurring in Singapore and involving a Russian national, the ramifications of such illegal activities reverberate globally. It serves as a sobering reminder that financial crimes can affect individuals and institutions regardless of geographical boundaries. 

In combating money laundering, CYS Global Remit aims to maintain rigorous due diligence procedures. These include establishing comprehensive business relationships with customers, gathering background information, and identifying the source of funds. Understanding the intended use of remittances, as well as determining destination and currencies involved, are also critical steps in detecting and preventing illicit financial activities. 

The complexity of modern financial systems necessitates constant vigilance and enforcement of anti-money laundering measures. By adhering to robust regulatory frameworks and implementing stringent checks and balances, institutions can mitigate the risks associated with money laundering. Additionally, fostering collaboration and information sharing among regulatory authorities and financial institutions enhances the effectiveness of anti-money laundering efforts on a global scale. 

Ultimately, the fight against money laundering requires a collective commitment from stakeholders across industries and jurisdictions. By remaining vigilant and proactive, we can work towards safeguarding the integrity of the financial system and upholding the principles of transparency and accountability. 




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