Singapore fines Credit Suisse, UOB over 1MDB-linked dealings, wraps up review

Tue May 30, 2017 5:27am EDT
 
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By Anshuman Daga and Joshua Franklin

SINGAPORE/ZURICH (Reuters) - Singapore's central bank has fined Credit Suisse and United Overseas Bank (UOB) a total of S$1.6 million ($1.2 million) for breaching anti-money laundering rules in transactions related to Malaysia's scandal-ridden state fund 1MDB.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Tuesday it had fined UOB S$900,000 and Credit Suisse (CSGN.S: Quote) S$700,000 as it wrapped up its two-year probe into banks involved in 1MDB-related transactions, which revealed several breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) requirements and control lapses.

"These include weaknesses in conducting due diligence on customers and inadequate scrutiny of customers' transactions and activities," it said in a statement, adding it did not, however, detect pervasive control weaknesses at UOB and Credit Suisse.

The fines are smaller than those the authority has already imposed on other banks as part of its biggest money-laundering investigation. It has now imposed penalties of S$29.1 million on eight banks.

Once a pet project of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who chaired its advisory board, 1MDB is the subject of money-laundering investigations in at least six countries including Switzerland, Singapore and the United States.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

"While the fines imposed on UOB and Credit Suisse may appear low relative to the amounts that we see imposed by U.S. and UK regulators, they are substantive by Singapore standards," said Nizam Ismail, partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP, where he advises clients on financial services regulation.

"Unfortunately, the presence of financial crimes is a reality and occupational hazard of major international financial centers. But when they are detected, the enforcement is robust and extensive - which is what MAS has done."   Continued...

 
FILE PHOTO: Men walk past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the fund's flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2015.   REUTERS/Olivia Harris/File Photo