Singapore seeks bank details on Malaysian funds probe
SINGAPORE – Singapore's central bank confirmed Friday, April 1, that it has asked a number of banks to provide information on fund flows as part of a probe into possible money-laundering related to Malaysian state firm 1MDB.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore issued a statement following a report by The Australian newspaper saying that it has asked about 40 banks with operations in the city-state to provide information on the matter.
"MAS is able to confirm that as part of its investigations into possible money-laundering and other offenses in Singapore, it has been conducting a thorough review of various transactions as well as fund flows through our banking system," the central bank said.
"MAS has requested a number of financial institutions to furnish information relating to the review."
It also said it was working closely with authorities in other financial centers because of the cross-border nature of the fund flows. (READ: Luxembourg launches money laundering probe in Najib fund scandal)
"Besides any enforcement actions by the relevant authorities in Singapore for possible violations of our laws, MAS will not hesitate to take regulatory actions against financial institutions should they be found to have breached our banking rules," MAS said.
Transfers of as little as Au$50,000 ($38,365) are believed to be under scrutiny by the MAS, which is investigating whether the haul was split into small amounts in a bid to escape notice, The Australian said.
Neighboring Malaysia has been rocked for more than a year by allegations that perhaps billions of dollars had gone missing from complex overseas transactions involving 1MDB, which is linked to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Najib is under pressure to explain why he accepted hundreds of millions of dollars in mysterious overseas payments to his personal bank accounts that the Wall Street Journal said were used to fund lavish spending and payouts to political figures ahead of 2013 elections.
Najib, 62, has repeatedly denied that the money was siphoned off from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), and says he is the victim of a political conspiracy.
Singapore in February said it had seized "a large number of bank accounts" as part of investigations into 1MDB as authorities vowed not to let the city-state become a refuge for illicit funds.
US authorities are reportedly looking into 1MDB-related fund flows, while Swiss, British, Hong Kong and Luxembourg authorities are also scrutinizing them. – Rappler.com