After punishing six bankers, Singapore is now investigating Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s relationship with 1MDB – the Malaysian investment fund at the centre of global money laundering probes. Bloomberg reports today that the island republic’s Commercial Affairs Department, the police’s economic crime unit and city prosecutors have interviewed current and former Goldman Sachs executives who worked on bond offerings from 1Malaysia Development Berhad. 1MDB is a multi-billion national investment board for Malaysia that is aimed on encourage economic development and business creation.
Former BSI banker Yeo Jiawei was on Wednesday sentenced to four-and-a-half years jail for money laundering and cheating, in a case linked to an investigation involving Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Yeo, 34, had set up multiple suspicious transactions involving 1MDB, and admitted he secretly profited at least $3.5 million from the illicit transactions. He laundered a portion of the money by transferring at least $500,000 into his parents' bank account. Prosecutors identified Yeo as a central figure linked to Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, who was characterised by US investigators as the controller of a plan to drain billions from 1MDB.
US authorities on Thursday moved to seize another $540 million in assets allegedly stolen in the 1MDB fraud and used to fund extravagant spending, the Justice Department announced. “Today’s complaints reveal another chapter of this multi-year, multi-billion-dollar fraud scheme, bringing the total identified stolen proceeds to $4.5 billion,” acting US Assistant Attorney-General Kenneth Blanco said in a statement.
Singapore said Tuesday it had fined Credit Suisse and United Overseas Bank (UOB), a local lender, for breaches of the city-state's anti-money laundering laws relating to a corruption scandal at Malaysian state fund 1MDB. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country's central bank, said it also imposed lifetime bans on two bankers and a 15-year prohibition order on a third following a two-year review of lenders involved in 1MDB-related transactions.
Swiss financial body FINMA said on Tuesday it had discontinued its investigation into UBS Group in connection with Malaysia's scandal-tainted 1MDB fund. "FINMA recently discontinued its investigation into UBS. FINMA found no systematic, serious misconduct, but sent the bank a written reprimand," the swiss watchdog wrote in a statement following its annual media conference. Three cases remain unresolved, Finma added in a statement. A case against UBS was closed recently and the bank, Switzerland’s largest, was reprimanded with no further action to be taken, the watchdog said.
Falcon Private Bank, one of the Swiss banks ensnared in the Malaysian corruption scandal surrounding the troubled 1MDB fund, lost 128 million Swiss francs ($130 million) last year, as it reported in the statement on Thursday. Last October the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) ordered the closure of its Singapore branch due to anti-money laundering (AML) failings in connection with 1MDB. The bank paid a composition fine of $300,000 for breaches of AML requirements and the regulator told the bank to strengthen its controls.
Singapore banned former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Tim Leissner from the securities industry for 10 years and said it plans to issue similar orders against three others caught up in the scandal surrounding 1Malaysia Development Bhd. Leissner, who left Goldman Sachs in February 2016, was sanctioned because he issued an unauthorized letter to a financial institution and made false statements on behalf of the U.S. bank without its knowledge, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said in a statement Monday. The central bank had signaled its intention to ban Leissner last year.
Singapore has reportedly seized a $35 million private jet belonging to 1MDB mastermind Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, who is under investigation for his involvement in the scandal-hit Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) The Bombardier Global 5000 jet is part of some $1 billion in assets allegedly acquired with funds siphoned from 1MDB fund that the US government is moving to seize. The police declined to comment on whether the authorities had grounded the plane, stating that investigations are still in progress. The US alleges that the funds were laundered through the US banking system and is seeking to confiscate Low’s private jet, as well as other properties including a $100-million interest in EMI Music Publishing Group, and a $380-million stake in the Park Lane Hotel in New York.
A 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.
The Malaysian government is working towards the winding up of state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) under a plan spearheaded by a high-level government unit called the Budiman committee. The state investment firm, which was established by Prime Minister Najib in 2009, is now being dissolved following allegations that its funds were used for personal reasons by the premier and his close associates, resulting in 1MDB’s debts peaking to $12 billion at one point. The assets of the state development fund will be transferred in coming months to two companies owned by the Finance Ministry. These valuable assets are two massive plots of land in Kuala Lumpur and one on Penang island.
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