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Singapore shuts second Swiss private bank amid 1MDB probe

WT24 Desk

Singapore has shut down a second Swiss private bank and fined two other financial institutions over their role in the widening international corruption scandal over Malaysia’s 1MDB state investment fund, The Financial Times reports.

The city state’s monetary authority ordered Falcon Private Bank to close over alleged serious anti money-laundering failings and improper conduct by senior managers, while UBS of Switzerland and Singapore’s DBS bank must pay a total of S$2.3m for allegedly breaching rules on stopping suspect financial flows write the FT’s Michael Peel and Don Weinland.

Falcon Bank, which is owned by Aabar Investments, an Abu Dhabi state investment fund, said the decision to scrap its Singapore licence was “regrettable and disappointing”, but added that it would not affect the bank’s “strategic development”.

It added it welcomed the completion of regulatory investigations, including by Swiss authorities, and said it had put in place “additional measures to prevent future issues”.

UBS said: “We take our responsibility to help detect and fight financial crime very seriously and worked closely with the regulators to resolve this matter”. DBS stated that it “takes our anti-money laundering obligations seriously and accepts MAS’ decision.”

The case highlights the broadening regulatory action against international banks in the 1MDB affair, as authorities in the US, Switzerland and elsewhere probe claims of multi-billion dollar looting from the fund.

Singapore earlier this year ordered BSI, the Swiss private bank, to close its local operation over what regulators branded “the worst case of control lapses and gross misconduct” seen in the city state’s financial sector.

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