11.01.2017

Falcon former banker jailed over 1MDB scandal

400A Swiss banker was jailed for seven months in Singapore on Wednesday for money laundering and other offences related to a corruption scandal involving neighbouring Malaysia’s state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Jens Fred Sturzenegger, 42, who headed the Singapore branch of Swiss lender Falcon Private Bank, was also fined $89,000 after he pleaded guilty at a district court. The Swiss national is the first foreigner to be charged in the 1MDB-linked probe by Singapore authorities.
The bank, which is also under investigation at home, was the second Swiss lender whose Singapore unit was ordered to cease operations last year after BSI Bank Ltd.

Allegations that huge sums were misappropriated from 1MDB have triggered a scandal which has embroiled Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, though the leader has denied any wrongdoing.

Sturzenegger was initially slapped with 16 charges, including six for allegedly failing to report suspicious transactions totalling US$1.7 billion in March 2013. 

He pleaded guilty to three charges of money laundering and three charges of giving false information. The other charges were taken into consideration in the sentencing.

Singapore prosecutors also said Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, had used the alias "Eric Tan" to mask suspicious transactions identified in the 1MDB investigation.
In November, Singapore authorities had identified Low as a key figure in the money-laundering scandal linked to 1MDB.

Falcon declined to comment on Wednesday. The bank has previously said it is initiating new control measures to prevent future issues and that it has been cooperating with authorities.


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