SINGAPORE, Oct 10 — Singapore authorities have taken action against the former deputy chief executive officer (CEO) of BSI Bank Ltd, Singapore Branch (BSIS) for his contribution to the bank’s failure to file suspicious transaction reports (STRs) regarding 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-related transactions.

Raj Sriram who is also the former head of Private Banking of BSIS has been issued a 24-month conditional warning from the Singapore Police Force’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and a 10-year prohibition order (PO) by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

“BSIS, of which Sriram was Deputy CEO and Head of Private Banking, was a key conduit for tainted funds in the 1MDB debacle,” said MAS’ DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR (Financial Supervision), Ho Hern Shin, in a joint statement today.

Ho noted that MAS withdrew BSIS’ licence in May 2016 due to serious and repeated breaches of Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements.

“The ultimate responsibility for ensuring a financial institution’s compliance with AML/CFT laws and regulations rests with its board of directors and senior management.

“MAS will take to task errant board and senior management members whose failures result in their financial institutions violating laws and regulations,” she said.

According to the statement, CAD investigated Sriram in relation to his role in BSIS’ business dealings and relationships with the subsidiaries of 1MDB and Aabar Investments PJS Ltd, the purported subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments PJS.

CAD found that there were reasonable grounds for BSIS to file STRs in respect of 1MDB-related transactions, as required under MAS’ Notice 1014 on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism — Merchant Banks.

“Due to Sriram’s neglect, BSIS did not file the STRs,” it said.

After careful consideration of the circumstances of the case and in consultation with the Attorney General’s Chambers, CAD issued a conditional warning in lieu of prosecution to Sriram for two offences under section 28B(1) read with section 27B(2) of the MAS Act.

Under the conditional warning, Sriram paid a sum of S$150,000 (RM485,260) to the Singapore Government’s Consolidated Fund; and committed to refrain from criminal conduct for a period of 24 months; continue to cooperate with CAD in its 1MDB-related investigations; and not accept any directorship positions or positions of similar form for four years from September 6, 2021.

Further to CAD’s conditional warning, MAS performed a review of Sriram’s conduct as a former regulated representative during his term at BSIS.

MAS assessed that Sriram’s conduct warranted a 10-year PO as he held a senior position at BSIS and his neglect had contributed to BSIS’ failure to file the STRs.

The PO, which took effect on October 10, 2022, prohibits Sriram from providing any financial advisory service or taking part in the management of, acting as a director of, or becoming a substantial shareholder of, any financial advisory firm under the Financial Advisers Act.

The authorities take a serious view of compliance with AML and CFT laws, and reporting of STRs, said the statement. — Bernama