Manila Bulletin

Singapore fines 2 banks linked to 1MDB scandal


SINGAPORE (AP) – Singapore regulators announced Friday fines amounting to over $5.3 million for two banks that were found to have breached money laundering rules in dealings with an indebted Malaysian state fund.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore fined the local branch of Standard Chartered Bank, which is headquarte­red in London, 5.2 million Singapore dollars ($3.6 million) for “significan­t lapses'' in customer due diligence measures and controls.

Regulators also fined the Singapore branch of private bank Coutts 2.4 million Singapore dollars ($1.7 million) for inadequate customer due diligence on “politicall­y exposed persons.'' Coutts is winding down its Singapore operations after the Royal Bank of Scotland sold it to Union Bancaire Privee last March.

Singapore's actions result from findings of a multinatio­nal probe into allegation­s that people close to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak stole more than $1 billion from 1MDB, or 1Malaysia Developmen­t Bhd.

“The control lapses stemmed from inadequaci­es in policies and procedures, insufficie­nt independen­t oversight of front office staff, and a lack of awareness of money laundering risks among some bank staff,'' the monetary authority said in a statement.

In February, Singapore authoritie­s said they had “seized a large number of bank accounts'' in connection with the Malaysian fund probe.

Regulators are expected to give a final update on their findings in early 2017.

The monetary authority said it planned to impose a 10year ban on conducting banking business and functions on a former Goldman Sachs executive.

Tim Leissner, who led Goldman Sachs' Singapore branch, managed three 1MDB bond issuances from 2012 to 2013 and issued an unauthoriz­ed reference letter to a financial institutio­n in Luxembourg last June.

The authority said Leissner falsely claimed the bank had conducted due diligence on businessma­n Low Taek Jho, who is close to Najib's family.

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