In response to breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) requirements, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has imposed fines totalling SG$3.8 million on DBS, OCBC, Citibank, and insurer Swiss Life. According to MAS, the financial institutions have accepted the penalties.
The breaches were identified during MAS’ examination of these institutions following the news of irregularities involving Wirecard AG’s financial statements and alleged involvement of Singapore-based individuals and entities. MAS found that the financial institutions had inadequate AML and CFT controls in place when dealing with entities related to Wirecard AG.
While the breaches were severe, MAS stated there was no evidence of willful misconduct by the financial institutions. In response, these entities have enhanced their procedures and processes and ramped up staff training to improve vigilance in detecting and escalating risk concerns.
Citibank has been penalised with a composition fine of SG$400,000 for breaches related to two corporate customer accounts. DBS has received a larger penalty of SG$2.6 million for failing to maintain adequate customer due diligence information and for neglecting to inquire into unusually large transactions for 11 corporate customers.
In a public statement, DBS acknowledged the penalty, noting that the lapses were related to a network of customers linked to Wirecard. The bank emphasised its commitment to combat financial crimes and highlighted enhancements made to its anti-money laundering controls.
OCBC has been fined SG$600,000 for breaches concerning one corporate customer, involving large, unusual transactions and inadequate investigation into the customer’s ownership structure. Swiss Life was penalised SG$200,000 for deficiencies concerning an investment-linked life insurance policy.
Citadelle, another company under investigation, was cleared of contravention of the Trust Companies Act (TCA).
Ho Hern Shin, Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision) at MAS, urged financial institutions in Singapore to enhance controls against illicit financial flows as the city-state’s prominence as an international financial centre grows.
This news follows a recent additional capital requirement imposed on DBS by MAS due to a disruption to its digital banking services. DBS reassured customers that their monies and deposits remain safe, even amidst difficulties accessing some of its banking and payment services.
The news is based on Marketing Interactive.