The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Singapore Police Force (SPF) have jointly taken action against the former deputy chief executive and head of private banking at BSI Bank Singapore (BSIS).
Raj Sriram has been issued a 24-month conditional warning from the police and a 10-year prohibition order from the regulator over failures related to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
According to the MAS and SPF, he did not file suspicious reports regarding transactions related to 1MDB.
The investigation by the police’s commercial affairs department (CAD) discovered that there were grounds for this type of reports to be submitted as part of money laundering prevention and counter-terrorism financing measures.
The two authorities said the failure to file the reports was attributed to Sriram’s neglect.
Under the conditional warning – which was issued instead of prosecution – the former deputy chief executive will need to:
- Pay S$150,000 ($104,577) to the Singapore government’s consolidated fund; and
- Refrain from any criminal conduct for 24 months, continue his co-operation with the police in its 1MDB investigations, and not accept any directorships or senior positions for four years – the period started in September 2021.
On the other hand, the MAS’ prohibition order took effect on 10 October 2022 and bans Sriram from providing financial advice and taking part in the management of or becoming a shareholder of any financial advisory firm.
Ho Hern Shin, deputy managing director of financial supervision at the MAS, said: “BSIS, of which Mr Sriram was deputy CEO and head of private banking, was a key conduit for tainted funds in the 1MDB debacle. MAS withdrew BSIS’ licence in May 2016 due to serious and repeated breaches of AML/CFT requirements.
“The ultimate responsibility for ensuring a financial institution’s compliance with AML/CFT laws and regulations rests with its board of directors and senior management. MAS will take to task errant board and senior management members whose failures result in their financial institutions violating laws and regulations.”
David Chew, director of CAD, added: “The suspicious transaction reporting (STR) regime is a key pillar of Singapore’s approach to anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. The Singapore authorities take a serious view of the obligation to file such reports, and strongly urge reporting entities to remain vigilant in detecting and reporting suspicious transactions.
“Officers of a financial institution are responsible for upholding the STR regime. The Singapore authorities will not hesitate to take firm action against reporting entities or their officers, who intentionally or negligently fail to file suspicious transaction reports when legally obliged to do so.”
This story first appeared on our sister publication, International Adviser.