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Bank Linked to 1MDB Scandal Probed in Singapore, Switzerland

  • VOA News

An employee enters the reception area of Swiss bank BSI's office in Singapore, May 24, 2016.

An employee enters the reception area of Swiss bank BSI's office in Singapore, May 24, 2016.

Singapore is ordering Swiss bank BSI, which has been linked to a money-laundering scandal at Malaysia's state fund 1MDB, to shut down its local branch.

The Singapore central bank said it is the first time in 32 years it's withdrawing a license from a merchant bank.

Separately, the Swiss attorney general's office has opened a probe into the bank, saying it "suspects deficiencies in the internal organization" of BSI.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) says BSI was guilty of "serious breaches of anti-money laundering requirements, poor management oversight of the bank's operations, and gross misconduct by some of the bank's staff."

MAS said it has asked prosecutors to investigate six senior officials of BSI bank. Two Singaporean BSI executives have already been charged.

Investigations into Malaysia’s state investment company, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), allege that more than $4 billion dollars has been misappropriated from development funds. 1MDB came under more suspicion last year when media reports raised allegations that millions of dollars had been deposited into the private bank account of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Najib has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and the Malaysian attorney general said the funds were a personal donation from Saudi Arabia’s royal family.

But the scandal has led to probes in 10 countries – including Malaysia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Switzerland – over allegations of political donations, inaccurate disclosures, possible money laundering and embezzlement.

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