Corporate liabilities in Singapore

The liabilities of a corporation on a criminal act have been acknowledged in Singapore’s Companies Act. The Companies Act is a legislation in Singapore that regulates the conduct and the liabilities of companies. The Act was first enacted in 1967 and last amended on 31 March 2017. The scope of conduct regulated in the Act includes:

  • Incorporation and powers of companies
  • Regulation of shares, debentures, and charges
  • Duties owned by officers of the company
  • Management and administration of the company
  • Regulation of accounts and audit
  • Operation of scheme of arrangements, reconstructions, and amalgamations
  • Role of receivers and managers
  • Operation of judicial management
  • Winding-up provisions (both voluntary and involuntary)
  • Provision of corporate criminal offences

Crime/Administrative Offenses

For a company to commit an offense as a ‘company,’ the following conditions must be met:

  • The offense is punishable with a fine and not where imprisonment is the only penalty
  • The offense is not an act that can only be committed by a natural person (i.e., rape)

The examples of offenses that businesses may encounter and be charged with are:

  • Money laundering and terrorist financing offenses
  • Tax evasion
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Fraud
  • Breach of export controls
  • Environmental offenses
  • Health and safety offenses

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