It just doesn’t let up with these banks….
By Wolf Richter of WOLF STREET
“Three people with knowledge of the matter” told Reuters that Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), is “scrutinizing,” as Reuters put it, several banks over suspicions that they broke anti-money-laundering rules in processing transactions of the scandal-infested Malaysian state-owned fund 1MDB.
The banks include UBS, DBS Group Holdings, Falcon Private Bank, and Coutts International. DBS is based in Singapore. The other three are based in Switzerland.
The 1MDB scandal revolves around $4.2 billion that, according to a Malaysian parliamentary investigation earlier this year, went missing or ended up in overseas accounts whose owners couldn’t be determined. These transactions were all processed by banks. In 2013, $681 million appeared in the personal account of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who also served as chairman of 1MDB until recently. Najib has denied any wrongdoing – it was a gift from a member of the Saudi royal family, he’d claimed. And Malaysia’s Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali cleared him in January of corruption or criminal offences.
So, according to Reuters:
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is looking at several aspects of the banks’ operations including whether they were diligent enough in knowing who their customers were and what the source of their funds was, and whether they were particularly careful in screening politically-exposed persons such as government officials, banking and legal sources aware of the review said.
The MAS is in talks with several banks and will make an announcement on any punitive action against them after the review is completed, sources said. The full details are not known at this stage.
UBS has been embroiled in all kinds of banking scandals around the world, including with the FBI, the SEC, and the IRS in the US starting in 2005, based on an informant, alleging that the bank was providing tax-evasion services to citizens of various countries. UBS eventually settled some of those charges. Other scandals broke to the surface, one after the other, including forex and Libor scandals, and UBS has been busy settling those too.
So a new scandal is just what the doctor ordered, particularly since these transactions likely happened fairly recently, after many of the other scandals had already become public…
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