BSI Hits Back at Swiss 1MDB Ruling

BSI, 1MDB, Finma, MAS

Swiss private bank Banca della Svizzera Italiana, or BSI, was shut down by Singaporean and Swiss regulators over ties to alleged corruption at Malaysian state fund 1MDB. BSI now says it won't go quietly.

Swiss financial regulator Finma last month began enforcement proceedings against two one-time BSI executives and ordered the bank to disgorge roughly 95 million Swiss francs in profits, as part of a crackdown with Singapore authorities into 1MDB accounts.

In a highly unusual frontal attack on the regulator, BSI now says that Finma's proceedings were «flawed» and its decision «disproportionate and incorrect». It is taking an appeal to Swiss court to seek a reversal of the measures.

Bank Hits Back

«In its appeal, BSI in particular challenges Finma's assessment of the facts, and holds that the measures ordered are unlawful and disproportionate under the applicable principles of administrative law,» the bank said in a statement.

A spokesman for Finma, which said in May it had been investigating BSI due to suspiciously high revenue and margins since 2013, didn't comment on the bank's objections and court case. BSI didn't mention Singapore regulator MAS in its statement.

BSI Concedes Failings

BSI conceded «certain internal shortcomings» in dealing with 1MDB in the past, but said that it had closed all relationships with the fund at the beginning of last year. The bank said Finma's decision, its timing, and the manner in which it was communicated were «wholly inappropriate.»

«In addition, Finma’s communication of the matter has severely harmed the reputation of the Bank and its employees.»

It is unclear what BSI has to gain from the suit: the 143-year-old firm was shut down in Singapore by MAS and is being sold to rival EFG International.

 

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