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MAS takes action against financial firms linked to 1MDB fund flow through Singapore
SINGAPORE authorities have been investigating various 1MDB-related fund flows through Singapore for possible money laundering, securities fraud, cheating, and other offences committed in Singapore.
In a joint release, the Attorney General's Chambers, Commercial Affairs Department and Monetary Authority of Singapore said investigations here began in March 2015 and are still in progress.
The fund flows being investigated include those connected with Good Star Limited (Seychelles), Aabar Investments PJS Limited (BVI), Aabar Investments PJS Limited (Seychelles), and Tanore Finance Corp. (BVI).
The criminal investigations by CAD are targeted at individuals suspected of committing offences in Singapore related to these flows, while MAS has been examining the financial institutions through which the funds flowed for possible regulatory breaches and control lapses.
Aside from BSI Bank, MAS has also conducted investigations into DBS Bank Ltd (DBS), Standard Chartered Bank - Singapore Branch (SCB), UBS AG - Singapore Branch (UBS), Falcon Private Bank and remittance agent Raffles Money Change.
"MAS' examination of certain other financial institutions (FIs) are ongoing. MAS will take decisive regulatory actions against any FI that has breached regulations or failed to meet the expected AML standards," the central bank said.
MAS said it has completed its examination of BSI Bank in May 2016 and decided to withdraw its status as a merchant bank in view of its serious breaches of AML requirements and poor management oversight, and gross misconduct by some of the bank's staff.
It has completed its inspections of DBS, SCB, and UBS, and is now finalising its assessments.
"The preliminary findings are that there were instances of control failings in all three banks and, in some cases, weaknesses in the processes for accepting clients and monitoring transactions. There was also undue delay in detecting and reporting suspicious transactions,'' it said.
"The deficiencies observed in DBS, SCB and UBS related to lapses in specific processes and by individual officers. The lapses were serious in their own right, and will be met by firm regulatory actions against the banks. However, the MAS' inspections did not reveal pervasive control weaknesses or staff misconduct within these banks, unlike in the case of BSI Bank,'' MAS stressed.
Onsite inspection of Falcon PBS was completed in April 2016. MAS found substantial breaches of AML regulations, including failure to adequately assess irregularities in activities pertaining to customers' accounts and to file suspicious transaction reports.
"However, the supervisory examination of Falcon PBS is still ongoing as the oversight and management of certain key client relationships were done out of the bank's head office in Switzerland. MAS is examining information obtained from Falcon PBS' head office and has asked for further details.''
As for RMC, a licensed money changer and remittance agent, MAS examination revealed weak management oversight inadequate risk management practices and internal controls. MAS is finalising regulatory actions against RMC.
MAS said its examination of certain other FIs are ongoing and it will reveal more details when these examinations are completed.
- For more coverage of the 1MDB scandal: bt.sg/1MDB