MAS files police report against author of 'baseless and defamatory' 1MDB-related article

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore said on Friday it has filed a report with the Singapore police against the author of an article published on on the States Times Review website on Nov 5 that were false and malicious, and impugned the integrity of the MAS as a financial regulator.

The article, "Lee Hsien Loong becomes 1MDB's key investigation target", alleged that Malaysia had signed several unfair agreements with Singapore, in exchange for Singapore banks' assistance in laundering funds for Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

MAS' move comes after the Sarawak Report distanced itself from the online article linking Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to the 1MDB scandal on Thursday. On Wednesday, Singapore's High Commission in Malaysia described the article as fake news and libellous. 

MAS said the article is baseless and defamatory and "ignores the unprecedented and robust actions taken by MAS over the last two years against Singapore-based banks and bankers in relation to their roles in 1MDB related transactions, in most instances ahead of enforcement actions by foreign jurisdictions".

"It also makes false allegations that Singapore was forced to reopen its investigations into 1MDB only after the change in political leadership in Malaysia. Investigations into 1MDB case had never been closed."

Najib Razak, the former prime minister of Malaysia, is facing corruption charges over the misuse of funds from 1MDB, the state investment vehicle founded in 2009.

The MAS said at its annual report press conferences in 2016 and 2017, it had made clear that it would not hesitate to investigate any new leads or evidence relating to 1MDB-related fund flows. This was reiterated in the public statement jointly issued by the MAS, the Attorney General's Chambers and the Singapore Police Force on June 8, 2018.

Singapore's law enforcement and regulatory agencies had also been cooperating actively with their counterparts in Malaysia, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the United States during the tenure of the previous Malaysian government, said the MAS.

"MAS has placed utmost importance on safeguarding its integrity as a financial regulator, and takes seriously any false allegations to the contrary," it said.

The States Times Review website had announced its closure last month, with its founder Alex Tan saying he would continue putting up the same content on what would now be his "personal blog".


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