Switzerland’s financial regulators have agreed to the takeover and dissolution of BSI Bank, which has been linked to a global money-laundering scandal at Malaysia’s 1MDB state fund.
The Swiss supervisor FINMA accused merchant bank BSI of “serious breaches” of money-laundering rules in its dealings with 1MDB, which is at the heart of a financial scandal swirling around Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak.
In the case of 1MDB, the bank executed numerous large transactions with unclear purpose.Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority
In the toughest punitive action yet announced in the affair, FINMA said it was approving the takeover of the merchant bank by Zurich-based private banking group EFG International on the condition that BSI is integrated “and thereafter dissolved” within 12 months.
It ordered the seizure of $US96 million of BSI’s “illegally generated” profits.
“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,” the Swiss regulator said.
Founded in 2009 by Mr Najib, 1MDB is teetering on the brink of collapse amid multiple investigations around the world into allegations that billions were looted from it.
The fund, which ran up more than $US11 billion ($15 billion) in debt in a series of much-questioned investments, has steadfastly denied money was stolen or that it was in financial trouble.
Last year, the Wall Street Journal revealed $US681 million in transfers to Mr Najib’s personal bank accounts.
He said the money was a gift from the Saudi royal family, most of which he returned.
..The Prime Minister has faced calls to resign but he has tightened his grip on the ruling party and thwarted domestic investigations.
source: ABC News