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MAS shuts down Falcon Bank in Singapore, fines Falcon, DBS and UBS

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The Monetary Authority of Singapore is withdrawing the merchant bank status of Switzerland-based Falcon Private Bank's Singapore branch for "serious failures in anti-money laundering (AML) controls and improper conduct by senior management at the head office in Switzerland as well as the Singapore branch", it said on Tuesday.

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore is withdrawing the merchant bank status of Switzerland-based Falcon Private Bank's Singapore branch for "serious failures in anti-money laundering (AML) controls and improper conduct by senior management at the head office in Switzerland as well as the Singapore branch", it said on Tuesday.

It has fined Falcon Bank S$4.3 million for breaches including "failures to adequately assess irregularities in activities pertaining to customer accounts, and file suspicious transaction reports", it said.

It is also imposing financial penalties of S$1 million on DBS Bank and S$1.3 million on Swiss bank UBS's Singapore branch for breaches of MAS' AML requirements, it said, though it added that it "did not find pervasive control weaknesses" within these banks and the "control lapses" it found in DBS and UBS "relate to specific bank officers".

MAS said the actions on the three banks came after it looked into 1MDB-related fund flows that took place through these banks from March 2013 to May 2015.

MAS has been informed that the Singapore branch manager of Falcon Bank, Jens Sturzenegger, was arrested by the Commercial Affairs Department on Oct 5, 2016. It is finalising its assessment of Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore Branch, and will make an announcement in due course.