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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Regulatory Investigations and Financial Crime Insights

Global Investigations Review (GIR)'s Corporate Investigations Guide for Singapore – high profile investigations, regulatory developments and key principles

GIR has published the seventh edition of its practical guide for external and in-house counsel, compliance officers and accounting practitioners. Members of the Clifford Chance global RIFC practice (and Cavenagh Law LLP ) are editors and authored several chapters including the Singapore chapter.

In the Singapore chapter of the Practitioner's Guide to Global Investigations 2023, members of the Clifford Chance Asia Litigation and Dispute Resolution (L&DR) team in Singapore, Kabir Singh, Janice Goh and Joey Ng, answer 78 questions regarding recent corporate investigations in Singapore, including recent high-profile investigations, anticipated developments, and other key principles and hot topics.

High profile investigations in recent years include the corruption scandal involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which resulted in two banks being shut down and total financial penalties of S$29.1 million being imposed on eight banks for various breaches of anti-money laundering requirements. Another major corporate investigation concerned the involvement of Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M), a subsidiary of Keppel Corporation, in the Petrobras bribery scandal. As part of its global resolution with criminal authorities in the United States, Brazil and Singapore, Keppel O&M is subject to fines amounting to US$422.2 million. The MAS has also investigated into the collapse of the Singapore-based cryptocurrency fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC).

In terms of anticipated developments, we expect greater regulatory scrutiny of corporate misconduct and workplace culture. The MAS Guidelines on Individual Accountability and Conduct took effect on 10 September 2021, and the Ministry of Manpower is intending to introduce a new Approved Code of Practice to combat workplace safety and health lapses.

Additionally, the ESG regulatory regime has been steadily developing in Singapore. Developments include the MAS releasing a set of Guidelines on Environmental Risk Management for the asset management, banking and insurance sectors in 2020, and the SGX setting up the ESGenome disclosure portal in July 2022, which will make companies' climate disclosures available to investors. The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and the Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) also set up a Sustainability Reporting Advisory Committee in 2022 to advise on a sustainability reporting roadmap for Singapore-incorporated companies.

The Singapore chapter of GIR also addresses the key principles and highlights practical pointers in relation to hot topics such as: corporate liability in Singapore, the manner in which corporate investigations are carried out by Singapore's law enforcement authorities, cyber-related issues, challenges in cross-border investigations, economic sanctions enforcement, data protection, dawn raids and search warrants, whistleblowing and employee rights, internal investigations, attorney-client privilege, witness interviews, reporting and responding to authorities, notices and subpoenas, prosecution and penalties, resolution and settlements short of trial, publicity and reputational issues, and disclosure duties to the market.

For a description of the publication, see here.

The Clifford Chance APAC L&DR team also authored the Hong Kong and Australia chapters of GIR. For more on recent high-profile investigations and anticipated regulatory developments in Hong Kong, see here.

For more on recent high-profile investigations and anticipated regulatory developments in Australia, see here.

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