Singapore is a well-established international business hub and the Commercial Affairs Department (“CAD”) works to clamp down abuses to our financial ecosystem. The CAD specialises in investigating white-collar crimes, cases involving money laundering, terrorism financing, as well as cyber-enabled scams on social media and e-commerce websites.
If the CAD has contacted you to attend an interview, it may be because:
- they are investigating suspicious financial activities concerning you;
- they require your assistance to act as a witness for a financial crime;
- you may possess evidence which they require for their investigations;
- you may have knowledge which they require for their investigations;
- they need to confiscate your passport so that you cannot leave the country; or
- they have frozen your bank account(s), credit card account(s), brokerage account(s), investment account(s) or trading account(s) to prevent any further transactions from occurring.
Will I be charged at the interview?
An interview with the CAD does not necessarily mean that you will be charged for a criminal offence. This is because the CAD requires more information, evidence and to conduct thorough investigations. In some cases, the CAD will have to escalate the matter to the Attorney General’s Chambers (“AGC”) to get clearance on whether a charge will be brought against you or not. That being said, the likely reasons why you are called for an interview is to assist the CAD with their investigations, either as a witness or a potential accused person. The interview is part of a preliminary investigation process and is usually a fact-finding exercise that could last up to a few hours. There may even be subsequent requests to attend further interviews after the first session. Alternatively, the CAD may decide to close the matter.
Is it compulsory for me to attend the interview?
This will depend on the method of the request made by the CAD. Under Section 21(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (“CPC”), a police officer, which includes a CAD officer, has the power to issue a written order requiring anyone within the limits of Singapore, who may have knowledge of any facts and circumstances of a case, to attend before him.
In the event that you receive such a written order or notice and fail to attend as required, the police officer may report the matter to a Magistrate who may then issue a warrant ordering you to attend the interview. Furthermore, an intentional failure to comply with the order to attend the interview may constitute an offence under Section 174(1) of the Penal Code. An individual found guilty under the said provision carries a punishment of imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or with a fine of up to S$1,500, or with both.
In 2020, lawyer and opposition politician Lim Tean was arrested at his office because he did not cooperate with a notice for him to attend an interview with the police. The police had no choice but to arrest him in order to conduct the investigations. It is therefore important that you always provide your full cooperation to the police. You may wish to clarify with the CAD officer whether your attendance is compulsory or seek legal advice from an experienced criminal lawyer.
Where is the CAD located?
The CAD is located at:
391 New Bridge Road, Level 6, Police Cantonment Complex Block D, Singapore 088762
By car: There is no available parking for the public at the Police Cantonment Complex. The nearest parking areas are at National Heart Centre Singapore, Outram Community Hospital, Everton Park Multi-Storey Car Park or along Bukit Pasoh Road.
By MRT: Outram Park Station via Exit D.
By public bus:
Outram Park Station Exit F/Singapore General Hospital (bus stop ID: 10018): 61, 124, 143, 147, 166, 197, 961,
Outram Park Station Exit H (bus stop ID: 05069): 124, 143, 147, 961
Before Neil Road (bus stop ID: 10011): 2, 12, 54, 121, 122, 124, 143, 147, 174, 190, 961
By taxi: However please note that no vehicles are allowed to stop directly outside the Police Cantonment Complex for safety and security purposes.
Can the CAD go after my family?
In the event that you have been arrested by the CAD, your family member/s will not be arrested simply because they are related to you, unless the said family member/s was also involved in the alleged offence. Having said that, the CAD may call your family member/s for an interview to aid in their investigations of you.
Should I engage a lawyer?
CAD investigations may lead to potential criminal charges against you, which entail serious consequences if convicted. It is important for you to know your legal rights and to protect yourself appropriately. A criminal trial process is costly, time consuming and stressful. It is advisable to engage a lawyer early to help you understand your case and guide you through the process of a CAD investigation.
We have successfully acted for a number of clients who faced CAD investigations. We are pleased that in some of the cases which we were involved in, the CAD decided to close their investigations and not proceed with any charges against our clients. Contact us now for a confidential discussion.