In The Wake of 1MDB

A stream of Asian and international banks have had their reputations tarnished. Individuals have been jailed and more are involved in ongoing high profile legal cases. Welcome to the world of 1MDB.

Today the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) showed its bite was as bad as its bark with news that it had fined two more banks and effectively banned a celebrity banker from practicing in Singapore ever again.

2016 has been the year of Brexit, Donald J. Trump and for many the ubiquitous never ending tale that is 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). There has even a touch of Hollywood about the scandal, with Leonardo DiCaprio and former model and designer Kimora Lee Simmons playing cameo roles.

Impressive List of Banks 

The list of banks associated with the Malaysian wealth fund is an impressive one. UBS, DBS, Coutts, Standard Chartered, and of course the notorious pair of BSI and Falcon Private Bank.

The last pair of financial institutions taking their place on the top shelf of business delinquents alongside the original rogue trader Nick Leeson.

The Very Worst

In May when the MAS closed BSI Bank in Singapore the MAS’ Managing Director Ravi Menon said «BSI Bank is the worst case of control lapses and gross misconduct that we have seen in the Singapore financial sector,» high praise indeed! As for Falcon it turned out to be more of a Dodo than a bird of prey.

However the story is not over yet and a few more chapters have yet to be written. There is the ongoing trial of former BSI banker Yeo Jaiwei and the Swiss and other financial regulators who are still working on their own 1MDB cases. Other parties involved with the defunct banks may yet face criminal charges.

From Monkey to Fire Rooster

Over SGD$27 million in financial penalties has been issued by the overworked Singaporean regulator who must surely be glad to see the end of the Year of the Monkey and hope that the incoming Fire Rooster plays nice.     

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