Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Switzerland’s financial regulator said enforcement proceedings are underway against UBS Group AG, one of six banks targeted, over its role in an alleged corruption scandal at 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

FINMA is targeting the Zurich-based bank, rather than individuals at UBS, said Vinzenz Mathys, a spokesman for the Bern-based regulator. He added that he couldn’t give any sense of when the proceedings might be concluded.

The country’s top prosecutor is also considering whether to open a criminal case against Falcon Private Bank, another Swiss bank embroiled in the scandal.

Switzerland’s actions come as regulators in Singapore ordered Falcon to cease operations in the country and fined the bank S$4.3 million ($3.12 million). The Monetary Authority of Singapore also fined UBS S$1.3 million and DBS Group Holdings Ltd. S$1 million for anti-money laundering lapses related to 1MDB.

Samuel Brandner, a spokesman for UBS in Zurich, declined to comment. 

Swiss Attorney-General Michael Lauber warned in a speech last week of “serious suspicion” of the role of Swiss banks in the 1MDB affair. He urged the Malaysians to do more to help with his investigation. Singaporean, U.S. and Swiss prosecutors are digging into how more than $3.5 billion was diverted from 1MDB, which was intended to finance development projects across Malaysia.

Lauber’s office said Tuesday that it’s considering opening criminal proceedings against Falcon after FINMA fined the lender 2.8 million Swiss francs ($2.8 million) for failing to adequately vet bank transactions. FINMA warned the Lugano-based bank it would lose its Swiss banking license if it repeated such offences.

Swiss prosecutors will study the terms of FINMA’s enforcement proceedings against Falcon before deciding whether to open a case, a spokesman for the attorney-general’s office said today.

“We will take care to wind down the Singapore branch in an orderly fashion,” Chief Executive Officer Walter Berchtold told journalists in Zurich Tuesday. “Falcon was abused and was a little naive on occasion.”

--With assistance from Jeffrey Vögeli To contact the reporter on this story: Hugo Miller in Geneva at hugomiller@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Katz at akatz5@bloomberg.net, Neil Callanan

©2016 Bloomberg L.P.

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