BSI in serious breach of money laundering regulations – FINMA

BSI in serious breach of money laundering regulations

Through business relationships and transactions linked to the corruption scandals surrounding the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, BSI AG committed serious breaches of money laundering regulations and “fit and proper” requirements. This is the outcome of enforcement proceedings launched by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA. In the case of 1MDB, the bank executed numerous large transactions with unclear purpose over a period of several years and, despite clearly suspicious indications, did not clarify the background to these transactions. Among other measures, FINMA has ordered the disgorgement of profits amounting to CHF 95 million. FINMA has also launched enforcement proceedings against two of the bank’s former top managers. At the same time, FINMA announces its approval of the takeover of BSI by EFG International with the condition that BSI will be integrated and thereafter dissolved. This takeover is a positive development providing clients and employees with a perspective for the future.

FINMA launched enforcement proceedings against BSI in 2015 after indications that the bank had breached money laundering regulations. The problems related to business relationships and transactions in the context of the corruption scandal involving the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. FINMA investigated a large number of transactions, as well as the internal processes and organisational control functions at the bank. The proceedings were concluded in May 2016. FINMA also closed its investigation and sanctioned BSIs misconduct in the Petrobras case. In connection with the same two cases, FINMA has investigated more than twenty other Swiss banks and launched proceedings against six of those banks.

1MDB: deliberate management decision

In the context of 1MDB, misconduct on the part of BSI was particularly serious. On numerous occasions, business relationships relating to 1MDB were discussed at top management level. This was particularly the case when at the end of 2013 FINMA highlighted to the bank the many serious risks inherent in the client relationships and pressed the bank for further clarification. Nevertheless, the bank’s Board of Directors and Executive Board knowingly and repeatedly expressed their intention to continue with these financially lucrative client relationships without adequately clarifying the numerous clear risk indicators or controlling the said risks.

BSI in serious breach of money laundering regulations
24 May 2016 – FINMA Press release

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