MAS directs bank to shut down in Singapore over serious breaches of anti-money laundering requirements



MAS directs bank to shut down in Singapore over serious breaches of anti-money laundering requirements

A photo of the Monetary Authority of Singapore

Date Published: 1 July 2016

Authors and Contributors: Bill Jamieson and Luna Tjung.


MAS directs bank to shut down in Singapore over serious breaches of anti-money laundering requirements

As one of the leading financial centres in Asia, Singapore is committed to uphold the confidence in the financial system with zero tolerance over serious breaches of AML requirements. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) imposed financial penalties amounting to $13.3 million for 41 breaches of AML regulations and has served BSI Bank Limited notice to shut down for serious breaches of AML requirements (MAS Notice 1014 – Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism), poor management oversight of the bank’s operations, and gross misconduct by some of the bank’s staff.

MAS found repeated weaknesses in BSI’s control regime, poor and ineffective oversight by the senior management, blatant disregard for compliance and control requirements as well as MAS’ regulations, numerous acts of gross misconduct by certain staff, and multiple breaches of AML regulations. At the same time, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA seized CHF 95 million of profit and also opened criminal proceedings against the BSI parent company, BSI SA. MAS is working closely with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority to oversee the closure of BSI Bank in Singapore. Previously, the US Department of Justice announced that BSI SA to pay $211 million penalty in return for the department’s agreement not to prosecute BSI for tax-related criminal offenses. MAS has referred to the Public Prosecutor the names of six members of BSI Bank’s senior management and staff to evaluate any committed criminal offences. They are the CEO, Deputy CEO, Head of Wealth Management Services, Senior Private Bankers, and Wealth Planner. One out of six names referred to the Public Prosecutor has been charged. The Public Prosecutor tendered charges such as money laundering, cheating, perverting the course of justice, allegedly concealing a portion of the fees received, and other charges.

MAS will set up a dedicated unit to fight money laundering and strengthen enforcement. The new unit will be responsible for regulatory policies relating to money laundering and other illicit financial risks. A dedicated supervisory team will monitor these risks and carry out onsite supervision of how more than 1,500 financial institutions. MAS’s recent moves send a clear signal to financial institutions not to disregard the importance of following AML requirements and MAS regulations closely.

Links to MAS Statement:

  1. News-and-Publications/Media-Releases/2016/MASdirects-BSI-Bank-to-shut-down-in-Singapore.aspx
  2. Media-Releases/2016/M AS-Sets-Up-DedicatedDepartments-to-Combat-Money-Laundering-andStrengthen-Enforcement.aspx



Disclaimer: This update is provided to you for general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice.


CNPLaw’s Banking and Finance Lawyer

Bill Jamieson is a Partner at CNPLaw LLP. Bill is an English lawyer who is also registered to practise Singapore law in the areas of corporate law, banking and finance and securities laws. He enjoys working in the diverse and dynamic Asian market and helping his clients to achieve their goals.

    Bill’s practice focuses on corporate financing transactions, investment funds, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and employment law matters. His experience includes 10 years in the City of London and over 20 years in Asia. Before joining CNP, Bill was a partner in a well-known international law firm. He is recommended lawyer for Corporate and M&A, Banking and Finance, Investment Funds and Labour and Employment in Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021. Bill is one of the firm’s contacts for Interlaw, a network of independent full-service corporate law firms ranked by Chambers and Partners in its highest category, “Elite”, amongst all global law firm networks.

    The lawyers from the Banking & Finance Practice Group (BFPG) have always taken pride in providing a comprehensive range of banking and finance services to our clients, including domestic and foreign international banks, other financial institutions as well as non-bank lenders and borrowers, and foreign legal firms acting for parties outside Singapore.

    Our banking & finance practice covers the whole spectrum of domestic and international banking & financing work, including restructurings, financings and financial institutions advisory work. We can draw upon a broad base of partners, senior, mid-level and junior associates, all with strong and varied banking & finance product line and country experience.

    Our reach is further widened and enhanced by our ability to draw upon the resources of our network of correspondent firms in the region and globally.

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