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Singapore action BSI bankers charged with 1MDB offences

The now defunct BSI bank has been at the centre of the 1MDB scandal


The Singaporean authorities have charged two senior private bankers at the Singapore branch of Swiss-based BSI bank for alleged fraud and corruption in relation to the ongoing investigation into the 1MDB Malaysian wealth fund.

Singapore’s Attorney General has also referred 11 other BSI staff, including senior management, to the public prosecutor to evaluate whether they have broken the country’s laws.

In a statement of Monday, the Attorney General’s office said Yak Yew Chee and Yvonne Seah Yew are each facing seven charges for failing to disclose suspicious transactions to the financial authorities. Another BSI banker, Yeo Jiawei already faces 11 charges in connection to the 1MDB scandal.

An investigation by the Monetary Authority of Singapore had “indicated that there had been serious misconduct by some members of the senior management and staff of BSI Singapore”, said a statement by the Attorney General’s office on Monday.

Singapore has also removed BSI’s banking license in Singapore while the Swiss authorities have allowed the bank’s operations to continue running only after it was taken over by EFG bank.

The Swiss Attorney General is also investigating suspicions of fraud and corruption. Last week, it filed a second request for legal assistance with the Malaysian authorities, saying that it suspected a Ponzi scheme had been used to cover up the misappropriation of $800 million (CHF782 million) from 1MDB.

In total, it is believed that some $4 billion may have been corruptly misappropriated from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund. BSI and other banks are suspected of having either turned a blind eye, or failed to conduct proper due diligence in their dealings with the fund.

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