Singapore to complete probe on banks by early 2017

PETALING JAYA: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which last Friday fined another two banks for breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) rules in relation to 1Malaysia Development Fund (1MDB) fund flows, said it was nearing completion of its probe into 1MDB-related fund flows and a final update will be made early next year.

Earlier this year, MAS withdrew the banking licence of BSI SA for serious breaches of money laundering regulations under the same probe.

In a statement last Friday, MAS managing director Ravi Menon said the central bank has taken tough regulatory actions against various financial institutions this year for AML control lapses.

“These actions send a strong signal that we will not tolerate the abuse of Singapore’s financial system for illicit purposes. The supervisory investigations into the intricate web of international fund flows have been a learning experience for financial institutions as well as for MAS. Our financial sector will emerge cleaner and stronger from the lessons learnt,” he said.

Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore Branch (SCB) and Coutts & Co Ltd, Singapore Branch (Coutts) have been fined for S$5.2 million (RM16.3 million) and S$2.4 million (RM7.5 million) respectively due to their breaches of AML requirements.

MAS has also served notice of its intention to issue a prohibition order against Tim Leissner, a former director of Goldman Sachs (Singapore) Pte for making false statements on behalf of Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C., without the latter’s knowledge or consent.

MAS said Leissner had overall responsibility for managing the relationship with 1MDB when Goldman Sachs was engaged by 1MDB to arrange three bond issuances from 2012 to 2013.

The proposed prohibition order will prohibit Leissner for a period of 10 years from performing any regulated activity under the Securities and Futures Act, or taking part directly or indirectly in the management of any capital market services firm in Singapore.