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Singapore, Swiss regulators take action against Falcon Private Bank, DBS, UBS in 1MDB probe


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Singapore, Swiss regulators take action against Falcon Private Bank, DBS, UBS in 1MDB probe

Singaporean and Swiss regulators have penalized overbreaches in itsanti-money laundering controls and its senior management's improper conduct,following investigations into the bank's links with the troubled 1MalaysiaDevelopment Bhd., or 1MDB.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore revoked the bank'slicense in the city-state and fined its local branch S$4.3 million. Authoritiesalso arrested branch manager Jens Sturzenegger.

MAS said it uncovered large numbers of regulatory breacheswhen it conducted an investigation into the bank in 2015, including theprocessing of unusually large transactions despite multiple red flags. The transactionswere made in the account of a bank customer associated with the bank's formerChairman Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny. Al-Husseiny influenced the Singaporebranch into processing the transactions despite the warning signs, theregulator said.

A MAS investigation in 2013 also found weaknesses in thebank's client and transaction surveillance.

In Switzerland, the Swiss Financial Market SupervisoryAuthority, or FINMA, ordered the bank to disgorge CHF2.5 million in illegallygenerated profits and banned it from entering into new business relationshipswith foreign politically exposed persons for a period of three years.

FINMA found that the bank failed to adequately check thebackground and risk profile of complex transactions related to the 1MDB group.FINMA said the business relationships and transactions booked in Switzerlandand the lender's Singapore and Hong Kong branches were "unusual andinvolved a high level of risk for the bank."

Assets worth around US$3.8 billion were transferred toaccounts at Falcon Private Bank associated with 1MDB between 2012 and 2015.Despite repeated alarms, the bank's management failed to properly investigatethe business relationships, particularly those with politically exposed personsand high-risk transactions.

FINMA has launched enforcement proceedings against two ofthe bank's former executives and directed the bank to strengthen its board'sindependence. The regulator also warned that it could withdraw the bank'slicense should it commit further breaches.

The other banks that were named in the 1MDB-related probe were , and . MAS saidit has fined DBS Group S$1 million and UBS S$1.3 million for lapses in theiranti-money laundering controls. The regulator, however, concluded that thelapses were related to specific bank officers only and ordered the banks topromptly address the control deficiencies and take appropriate disciplinarymeasures against the staff involved.

MAS said it was still finalizing its assessment of StandardChartered's Singapore branch.

As of Oct. 10, US$1was equivalent to S$1.37.