Standard Chartered Fined by MAS for AML Violations

On March 19th, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) fined the Standard Chartered Bank branch in Singapore (SCBS) S$5.2 million and the Standard Chartered Trust Limited (SCTS) S$1.2 million for violating its anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorism financing (CFT) requirements.

MAS reported that the violations took place when customers’ trust accounts at SCBC were transferred from Standard Chartered Trust (Guernsey) to SCTS shortly before Guernsey implemented the Common Reporting Standards (CRS) for the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters.  Due to the timing, MAS suspected customers were attempting to evade CRS’ new reporting obligations.  SCBS and SCTS failed to report any suspicious transactions and did not perform proper risk assessments against any of the account transfers.

Deputy Managing Director of MAS, Ong Chong Tee stated that ”MAS requires financial institutions to adequately assess money laundering risks when deciding whether to accept customers.  They 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.”  MAS also added that SCBS and SCTS are currently working to strengthen their AML/CFT regulations.  A Standard Chartered spokesperson announced that it has reported to the authorities, and reviewed and changed the relevant trust structures and procedures in order to assess and process future risks.  There are also plans in place to train employees daily as AML/CFT regulations regularly change.


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