Singapore to stop issuing Sg$10,000 note to deter money laundering
Singapore's central bank said Thursday it would stop issuing Sg$10,000 ($8,000) notes to help deter money laundering, with critics complaining the note is the bill of choice for bribe-payers in neighbouring Indonesia.
A spokeswoman for the Monetary Authority of Singapore said the decision was "a pre-emptive move to mitigate the higher money laundering risks associated with large value cash transactions".
The note is one of the world's most valuable banknotes in circulation, along with the 1,000 Swiss franc ($1,120) note, the Sg$1,000 note and the 500 euro ($680) note, according to the Standard Catalogue of World Paper Money.
The highest banknote for the US currency is $100 while China makes do with the 100 renminbi ($16) note.
Notes currently in circulation will remain legal tender but stocks are expected to decline over time as worn notes are returned and not replaced, the monetary authority spokeswoman told AFP.
The central bank's comments come days after an Indonesian financial watchdog urged Singapore to immediately withdraw all Sg$10,000 notes instead of just discontinuing them.
"If the notes remained on the market, let's say for five or 10 years after their production stopped, Indonesia would still be vulnerable to money-laundering and graft," said Agus Santoso, the deputy chairman of the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre in Jakarta, according to a July 7 report in the Jakarta Post.
Santoso said in Indonesia the Sg$10,000 note is the "bill of choice for bribe-payers or graft suspects because they can exchange a large amount of rupiah for just a few banknotes".
Singapore, a global financial centre and major player in the wealth management industry, has rejected accusations that it is a haven for money-laundering and foreign tax cheats.
In March, it began regulating intermediaries of Bitcoin such as exchanges and vending machines dispensing the virtual currency, citing the increasing risk that they could be used for money laundering and terrorist financing.
The government has also said it is scrutinising new forms of illicit financing such as through the trade of precious stones and metals.
Singapore houses the regional offices of some of the world's top financial institutions with total assets under management in the city-state now around Sg$1.4 trillion ($1.1 trillion), according to the city's monetary authority.