A host of regulatory bodies chasing alleged corruption linked to the Malaysian 1MDB sovereign wealth fund are keeping their cards close to their chests about a potential link to Swiss banking giant UBS.
Investigative journalists at the Sarawak Report pressure group this week published bank statements that apparently show well over $2 billion (CHF1.97 billion) from 1MDB subsidiaries being funnelled to a UBS account held by a fraudulent entity. The documents have not yet been verified, and to date the bank and regulators in Switzerland and Singapore have refused to make any comment.
The Swiss Attorney General has confirmed to swissinfo.ch that UBS has not been charged with any offences in connection with its own 1MDB criminal probe. The Monetary Authority of Singapore declined to comment, and swissinfo.ch understands that there will be no statement this week, contrary to reports in the Swiss media.
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) would not comment on the alleged UBS connection, but reiterated earlier statements that it has already issued five enforcement proceedings against banks for breaches of money laundering obligations. The identity of only one bank is known – the Lugano-based BSI that is in the process of being shut down in Switzerland and Singapore.
BSI has appealed to the Federal Administrative Court against FINMA’s damning verdict of “serious breaches of money laundering regulations” and what the bank terms the “unlawful and disproportionate sanctions” that were levelled against it in May.
The Sarawak Report story alleges the UBS account in Singapore served a fake entity known as Aabar Investments PJS Limited. It goes on to accuse UBS of a “shocking failure of compliance and due diligence” for not noticing the alleged fraud.
swissinfo.ch understands that UBS had filed a suspicious transaction report to the Swiss Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS) before FINMA announced its 1MDB probe.