MAS seeking data from 40 banks in money laundering probe: report

MAS seeking data from 40 banks in money laundering probe: report

SINGAPORE - The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is asking a few financial institutions to co-operate in its probe into possible money-laundering and other offences, some of which may involve beleaguered Malaysian state investment company 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

At the same time, it is also reaching out to authorities in other jurisdictions to investigate the nature of certain cross-border flows of funds.

MAS "has been conducting a thorough review of various transactions as well as fund flows through our banking system" as part of its investigations into possible money-laundering and other offences here, said a spokesman for the central bank in response to media queries last night.

"MAS has requested a number of financial institutions to furnish information relating to the review."

The queries followed from a Thursday report in The Australian newspaper. The article stated that two of Australia's biggest banks, ANZ and NAB, have been drawn into the MAS probe.

It said that MAS was believed to have asked "close to 40 banks with a presence in the city-state" to provide information about money flows from entities linked to 1MDB.

Accounts at ANZ and NAB are suspected to be some of those queried, said the report. ANZ and NAB declined to comment for the article.

On Thursday, MAS said that given the cross-border nature of these fund flows, it is also "working closely with and seeking clarifications from relevant authorities in other financial centres".

"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 will provide more details when we have completed our review," said the spokesman.

MAS's investigation comes as a multinational probe into how funds might have been misappropriated from 1MDB widens.

This article was first published on April 1, 2016.
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