1MDB: RBS Coutts Now Under Investigation

RBS Coutts

RBS Coutts

Switzerland’s financial-markets regulator Finma is commencing a probe into the activities of the RBS Coutts Swiss unit and its links to the beleaguered Malaysian wealth fund.

Substantial payments from the fund into accounts held in the RBS Coutts Zurich unit are under examination by the Swiss regulator. A report in the «Financial Times» (paywall) details the movement of the funds.

British Government

The RBS Coutts Swiss business was recently acquired by Union Bancaire Privee (UBP). However UBP is not on the radar of FINMA as the actions took place prior to UBP’s involvement.

RBS Coutts was at that time however majority owned by the U.K. Government. 

RBS Coutts and BSI Link

In 2009 in one of the largest movements from one private bank to another in Asia, some 70 RBS Coutts employees departed the firm en masse to join the Swiss private bank BSI.

They were following Hanspeter Brunner, former Co-Chief Executive of RBS Coutts, who had joined BSI to build the Asian wealth management operations of the then Generali owned bank BSI.

The Singapore business of Lugano headquartered BSI, which is now being absorbed into EFG International, has been regularly linked to the controversy that has swirled around the Malaysian wealth fund 1MDB.   

Brunner as well as several other senior Asian based executives of BSI have recently retired or resigned from BSI.  

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