SINGAPORE: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced on Wednesday (June 21) that it is imposing penalties on three banks— DBS, OCBC, and Citibank, as well as insurer Swiss Life.
The penalties, amounting to S$3.8 million, are due to breaches of MAS’ Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements. Singapore’s central bank added that all four had accepted the penalties.
These breaches were determined when MAS launched a probe after news of irregularities relating to the financial statements of German digital payments firm Wirecard, as well as allegations that certain individuals based in Singapore were involved in them.
Wirecard filed for insolvency in 2020 after €1.9 billion (SGD2.9 billion) went missing, and its CEO was terminated and arrested.
The police raided the company’s Singapore office in Feb 2019 after several whistleblower articles were published in the Financial Times (FT) containing allegations of accounting malpractices.
MAS discovered that DBS, OCBC, Citibank, and Swiss Life had inadequate AML/CFT controls while dealing with the people involved with Wirecard transactions.
The central bank added, however, that it did not find that there had been willful misconduct on the part of any of the staff of the four institutions.
“The FIs (financial institutions) have taken prompt remedial actions to address the deficiencies identified by MAS. These include enhancements to their procedures and processes, and training to improve staff’s vigilance in detecting and escalating risk concerns. The FIs are required to ensure sustained effectiveness of these enhancements,” the statement reads.
Citibank has been given a composition penalty of S$400,000 for breaches between September 2019 and June 2020 regarding the accounts of two corporate customers.
DBS has been given a composition penalty of S$2.6 million because of the breach that took place between July 2015 and February 2020 in relation to accounts maintained by 11 corporate customers.
OCBC was given a composition penalty of S$600,000 over breaches from June 2015 and January 2016 relating to accounts maintained by one corporate customer.
And a composition penalty of S$200,000 was imposed on Swiss Life or breaches in May 2017 relating to an investment-linked life insurance policy it had underwritten.
MAS outlined the nature of the breaches in its statement, which may be found in full here. /TISG
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