Singapore fines Standard Chartered entities for money laundering breaches
19 Mar 2018

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has penalised Standard Chartered Bank Singapore Branch (SCBS) and Standard Chartered Trust Singapore (SCTS) for breaching its anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorist financing (CFT) rules, the regulator said on Monday.

MAS found SCBS’ and SCTS’ risk management and controls pertaining to transfers were unacceptable, and fined them S$5.2 million and S$1.2 million respectively.

The breaches of rules occurred when trust accounts of SCBS’ customers were transferred from Standard Chartered Trust (Guernsey) to SCTS from December 2015 to January 2016.

“The timing of the transfers raised questions of whether the clients were attempting to avoid their CRS reporting obligations. However, SCBS and SCTS did not adequately assess and mitigate against this risk factor, and also failed to file suspicious transaction reports in a timely manner,” MAS said in a statement.

MAS also considered that SCBS had notified it of its internal review on the trust accounts, and both it and SCTS had taken ‘prompt’ remedial measures to strengthen their AML/CFT risk management controls.

MAS’ Deputy Managing Director Mr Ong Chong Tee said,“[Firms]should also have in place good systems and processes to monitor customer transactions. We expect financial institutions to remain vigilant by instilling a strong risk culture.”

“We ourselves identified the issue, we recognised that we weren’t as diligent as we needed to be in the transfer of some trust assets from Guernsey to Singapore,” Standard Chartered’s CEO Bill Winters said, according to Reuters, “we reported both our own shortcomings and also the action of our clients to the MAS.”

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