First S'porean appointed to lead global task force against money laundering, terrorism financing

Mr T. Raja Kumar will assume office on July 1, 2022, and will serve for a fixed two-year term. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - In a first, a Singaporean will be leading a global watchdog aimed at combating money laundering and terrorism financing.

Mr T. Raja Kumar, 60, will assume office as president of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on July 1 and will serve a fixed two-year term.

This will be the first time since joining the FATF as a member in 1992 that Singapore is taking on the organisation's presidency, said the ministries of Home Affairs and Finance as well as the Monetary Authority of Singapore in a joint statement on Monday (March 7).

The FATF is an inter-governmental organisation that sets international standards to prevent global money laundering and terrorism financing, and the harm these activities cause to society.

These standards are aimed at helping governments deal with proceeds from transactions of illegal drugs, human trafficking and other crimes.

The FATF also works to stop funding for weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Raja is currently senior adviser for international matters at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and has been a member of the Steering Group, which provides advice to the FATF's president, since July 2018.

He has also been the head of Singapore's delegation to the FATF and co-chairman of the National Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism since January 2015.

Mr Raja was selected as president at the FATP plenary, which ended last Friday.

He will replace Dr Marcus Pleyer from Germany, who has been the organisation's president since July 1, 2020.

Prior to his involvement in the FATF, Mr Raja has served various roles in the areas of policy, regulation and law enforcement.

Among others, he was deputy commissioner for policy at the Singapore Police Force, senior deputy director of the Commercial Affairs Department, deputy secretary for international and training matters at MHA, and chief executive of the Casino Regulatory Authority.

Mr Raja said his appointment is the culmination of years of good work by the Republic’s FATF team.

“My deepest appreciation goes to my colleagues from across the Government for their collective work - building the Singapore brand and paving the way for this milestone for Singapore,” he added.

Congratulating Mr Raja on his appointment, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam said: "Mr Raja's capabilities, international experience, and work as a senior public sector leader, operating in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural environment across a range of disciplines, will come in useful to lead an international organisation such as the FATF."

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said: "I look forward to Mr Raja, as president, bringing together law enforcement authorities, financial sector and other anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism supervisors, as well as private sector stakeholders to achieve effective outcomes.

"Mr Raja's experience and leadership will enable him to effectively lead the FATF's mission in the years ahead."

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