Singapore slaps penalties on StanChart, Coutts in 1MDB-related probe

Fri Dec 2, 2016 3:59am EST
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By Anshuman Daga and Marius Zaharia

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore's central bank imposed penalties on the local units of U.K.-based Standard Chartered (STAN.L: Quote) and private bank Coutts for money laundering breaches related to Malaysia's scandal-tainted 1MDB fund and said it was nearing the end of its probes.

The penalties - of S$5.2 million ($3.65 million) and S$2.4 million, respectively - were the latest punitive measures taken by the central bank in its crackdown on money laundering, having ordered the closure earlier this year of the local units of Swiss banks BSI and Falcon.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is also in the process of issuing a prohibition order against Tim Leissner, Goldman Sachs' former Southeast Asia chairman.

"These actions send a strong signal that we will not tolerate the abuse of Singapore's financial system for illicit purposes," said Ravi Menon, the managing director of MAS.

"The supervisory investigations into the intricate web of international fund flows have been a learning experience for financial institutions as well as for MAS," he said.

The inspection at Standard Chartered "revealed significant lapses in the bank's customer due diligence measures and controls for ongoing monitoring," MAS said.

While the 28 breaches were "serious", the central bank did not find "wilful misconduct."

Standard Chartered said in a statement it is taking action to strengthen controls and surveillance systems.   Continued...

A Standard Chartered bank branch in Singapore October 11, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo