Singapore’s Wirecard activities review prompts investigation into Citadelle and Senjo

Maria Nikolova

The entities are suspected of falsifying accounts, as well as conducting a trust business without the necessary licence.

The Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have launched a joint investigation into Citadelle Corporate Services Pte Ltd, Senjo Group Pte Ltd and its subsidiaries. The entities are suspected of falsification of accounts under the Penal Code (Cap 224), as well as carrying on a trust business without a licence under the Trust Companies Act (Cap 336).

The investigation follows an announcement made on June 29, 2020 that MAS and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority are collaborating with CAD to investigate recent developments relating to Wirecard AG. The investigation has raised concerns that offences may have been committed.

As part of the investigation, CAD and MAS have obtained documents and records from Citadelle and Senjo, and have interviewed persons involved in the companies.

MAS says it is aware of media reports alleging that Citadelle has handled monies for Wirecard in a trustee capacity. The provision of trust services as a business in Singapore is an activity regulated by MAS under the Trust Companies Act, the regulator explains. Citadelle is not licensed to provide trust business services in Singapore, and is not supervised by MAS. MAS has listed Citadelle on the Investor Alert List on its website.

Wirecard’s primary business activities in Singapore are to process payments for merchants and help companies issue pre-paid cards. Wirecard entities in Singapore are not currently licensed by MAS. The Payment Services (Exemption for Specified Period) Regulations 2019, which were made under the Payment Services Act 2019 (“PS Act”), provide for a grace period ranging from six months to a year for entities providing certain regulated payment services to apply for the relevant licence. During this grace period, such entities may provide the regulated payment service without a licence and MAS may issue directions to such entities.

On June 30, 2020, MAS said that the Wirecard entities in Singapore complied with MAS’ directions to hold customers’ funds in segregated accounts with banks in Singapore.

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