Tai­wan fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tor quits over bank scan­dal

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE head of Tai­wan’s top fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tor re­signed yes­ter­day af­ter US au­thor­i­ties fined a lo­cal bank linked to the so-called Panama Pa­pers scan­dal.

Ding Kung-wha, chair of the Fi­nan­cial Su­per­vi­sory Com­mis­sion (FSC), had been crit­i­cised over his han­dling of the con­tro­versy in­volv­ing Mega In­ter­na­tional Com­mer­cial Bank, which was hit with a US$180 mil­lion fine in the US in Au­gust.

Amer­i­can reg­u­la­tors ac­cused the bank of show­ing “fla­grant dis­re­gard” for anti-money laun­der­ing laws, say­ing they had iden­ti­fied “sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions” be­tween the bank’s New York and Panama Branches.

The Panama Pa­pers, which were re­leased by me­dia in April, com­prised a trove of leaked doc­u­ments that re­vealed a murky fi­nan­cial un­der­world of tax eva­sion by politi­cians, celebri­ties and sports stars us­ing shell com­pa­nies.

Mega Bank had deal­ings with a Pana­ma­nian law firm at the cen­tre of the scan­dal, the US Depart­ment of Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices said.

The US or­der does not spec­ify whether the Tai­wanese bank ac­tu­ally en­gaged in money laun­der­ing.

Some law­mak­ers crit­i­cised Mr Ding for being slow in han­dling Mega and an­other case in which a lo­cal en­ter­tain­ment com­pany was ac­cused of in­sider trad­ing and mar­ket ma­nip­u­la­tion. The firm is now un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“I re­signed to main­tain my in­no­cence and hope that it will end the harm for the FSC,” Mr Ding said, adding that the FSC had launched a probe

into the Mega case at the ear­li­est pos­si­ble time.

Mr Ding was ap­pointed by Premier Lin Chuan in May and is the first cab­i­net min­is­ter to leave of­fice un­der the new govern­ment.

The FSC hit Mega Bank with a T$10 mil­lion (US$316,000) fine last month and de­manded the bank fire six peo­ple, in­clud­ing its legal rep­re­sen­ta­tive and for­mer chair­man McKin­ney Tsai.

Tai­wan’s cab­i­net has passed a bill to toughen its anti-money laun­der­ing laws fol­low­ing Mega In­ter­na­tional’s fine. –

Photo: EPA

The Mega In­ter­na­tional Com­mer­cial Bank head­quar­ters, a sub­sidiary of Mega Fi­nan­cial Hold­ing Com­pany, in Taipei, Tai­wan.

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