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MAS imposes financial penalties on Credit Suisse, UOB for 1MDB-related transactions

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 09:15

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It has imposed financial penalties on Credit Suisse and United Overseas Bank (UOB), as well as issued prohibition orders (POs) against three individuals and served notice of its intention to impose the same regulatory action on three others.

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Tuesday said that it has completed its two-year review of banks involved in 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) related transactions known to-date.

It has imposed financial penalties on Credit Suisse and United Overseas Bank (UOB), as well as issued prohibition orders (POs) against three individuals and served notice of its intention to impose the same regulatory action on three others.

The latest inspections of Credit Suisse and UOB revealed several breaches of anti-money laundering requirements and control lapses. These include weaknesses in conducting due diligence on customers and inadequate scrutiny of customers' transactions and activities.

MAS said that it did not however detect pervasive control weaknesses within these banks.

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MAS has imposed on Credit Suisse and UOB financial penalties amounting to S$700,000 and S$900,000 respectively, and directed the banks to appoint independent parties to assess and confirm to MAS that rectification measures have been effectively implemented.

MAS has also issued lifetime POs against Jens Fred Sturzenegger and Yak Yew Chee, as well as a 15-year PO against Seah Mei Ying with effect from May 29, 2017.

Sturzenegger was the branch manager of Falcon Private Bank, Singapore branch (Falcon Bank), while Yak and Seah were employees of BSI Bank Limited (BSI Bank).

Sturzenegger has been convicted of financial crimes including providing false information to authorities in an attempt to cover up his knowledge of Falcon Bank's relationship with Low Taek Jho. Yak and Seah were convicted of multiple counts of failing to report suspicious transactions and of forging reference letters at BSI Bank on behalf of Low.

All three individuals are prohibited from providing any capital markets and financial advisory services, and taking part in the management of, acting as a director of, or becoming a substantial shareholder of any capital markets services or financial advisory firm in Singapore.

MAS has also served notice of its intention to issue a PO against Ang Wee Keng Kelvin, a former representative of Maybank Kim Eng Securities, as well as the CEO of NRA Capital, Kevin Scully, and its former head of research, Lee Chee Waiy.

On May 24, Ang was convicted for bribing Lee with S$3,000 to expedite the preparation of a valuation report on PetroSaudi Oil Services.

UOB responded to MAS's announcement, accepting the findings and saying that it has instituted measures to enhance its training programme to raise risk and control awareness among its staff. The profits associated with the lapses will be donated to charity, it said.

A Credit Suisse spokesman also responded, saying: "Notwithstanding that the MAS review findings show there are no pervasive anti-money laundering control weaknesses, we acknowledge the outcome of the review and regret that we have fallen short of the MAS's and our own high standards ... The bank has cooperated fully with the MAS and taken further measures to address the issues identified in its review."

It will also donate all profits from the transactions in question to a worthy cause, the spokesman added.

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