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March 15, 2022updated 02 May 2022 1:06pm

Singapore bans digital payment token services tied to Russia

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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has directed financial institutions in the country to ban digital payment token services to sanctioned Russian entities and individuals amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

This ban includes the purchase, sale or exchange of digital payment tokens, and arranging funding for token transactions, among others.

The move is part of broader financial measures set out by the regulator in connection with sanctions on Russia.

It is aimed at preventing transactions that could help circumvent sanctions.

The authority also detailed regulation for targeted financial sanctions, de-listing and unfreezing in connection with sanctions.

In a statement, the regulator said: “In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Singapore Government has imposed financial measures targeted at designated Russian banks, entities and activities in Russia, and fund-raising activities benefiting the Russian government.

“These measures apply to all financial institutions in Singapore, including banks, finance companies, insurers, capital markets intermediaries, securities exchanges, and payment service providers.”

Financial institutions that contravene the regulations will be fined under the MAS Act.

Meanwhile, Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine has triggered a number of payment companies to suspend their services in the country.

Mastercard, Visa and Amex were amongst the first to lead the Russian exodus of payment firms. They were later joined by JCB, Discover, Western Union, and most recently, MoneyGram.

Last week, Ukraine’s central bank urged the apex banks of Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Vietnam to suspend all transaction cards linked to the Russian payment system MIR.

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