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Singapore slaps Standard Chartered with anti-money laundering and terrorism fines

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  • 19/03/2018
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Singapore slaps Standard Chartered with anti-money laundering and terrorism fines
Standard Chartered Bank and Standard Chartered Trust were fined a combined £3.46m (S$6.4m) by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for 33 breaches of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws.

 

The lender’s Singapore arm was fined £2.81m (S$5.2m), while its Singaporean trust unit was fined £0.65m (S$1.2m).

The breaches occurred when trust accounts of Standard Chartered customers were transferred from Guernsey to Singapore from December 2015 to January 2016.

Because the transfers took place shortly before new reporting standards were implemented in Guernsey, the MAS said that the timing of the transfers raised questions over whether the clients were attempting to avoid reporting obligations.

The MAS found the Standard Chartered’s risk management and controls to be “unsatisfactory”, and said the lender failed to file suspicious transaction reports in a timely manner.

However, the Singaporean watchdog noted the fines were mitigated, because Standard Chartered had “pro-actively” notified MAS of its internal review on the trust accounts, and has taken “prompt and substantive remedial measures” to strengthen its risk management and controls against monetary and terrorism financing.

The latest penalties also came less than two years after Standard Chartered was fined £2.81m (S$5.2m) for anti-money laundering breaches in relation to the 1MDB fund in December 2016.

 

Falling short

Ong Chong Tee, deputy managing director at MAS said: “MAS requires financial institutions to adequately assess money laundering risks when deciding whether to accept customers.

“They should also have in place good systems and processes to monitor customer transactions. We expect financial institutions to remain vigilant by instilling a strong risk culture.”

In an emailed statement, Standard Chartered said: “We regret that we fell short of our own standards in adequately mitigating the risks involving some clients who might have attempted to avoid reporting obligations.

“We take this matter very seriously. We proactively reported it to the authorities, conducted a thorough review of the relevant trust structures, and made structural and procedural changes to ensure that our employees are better equipped to identify, assess, and mitigate potential risks.

“We will continue to monitor, review and strengthen these measures to bolster our overall defence against potential financial crime risks.”

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