Bank Negara governor Muhammad Ibrahim on Thursday (May 26) that the central bank has concluded its investigations on financial irregularities involving troubled state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) despite the revelations from Singapore and Swiss authorities earlier this week.
On Tuesday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore ordered the closure of Switzerland’s BSI Bank in Singapore over “serious breaches of anti-money laundering requirements, poor management oversight of the bank’s operations, and gross misconduct by some of the bank’s staff”.
Swiss authorities have also opened criminal proceedings against the parent company BSI SA based on information revealed by the criminal proceedings in the 1MDB case and on issues raised by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.
Speaking on the sidelines of a banking conference in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Muhammad said the full payment of the compound by 1MDB on Wednesday marked the conclusion of its internal probe.
However the central bank will assist other regulatory bodies in their investigation under their respective laws.
"Regulatory authorities will make investigation based on rules and regulations in various jurisdictions,” said Mr Muhammad. “But as far as we are concerned, it marks the conclusion of our investigation, as 1MDB has paid the fine.”
1MDB was fined an undisclosed amount for failing to repatriate USD$1.83 billion it claimed to have invested overseas after Bank Negara cancelled the permit over inaccurate disclosure of information by 1MDB.
Around US$680 million were said to have been deposited into Prime Minister Najib’s personal bank accounts in Ambank just before the last general election in 2013.
The attorney general has said the money was a donation from the Saudi Royal family, much of which has been returned and cleared Mr Najib of any criminal wrongdoing.
Still, Ambank was fined a hefty RM50 million (US$12 million)in 2015 by the central bank for non-compliance.
Commenting on the fine, Ambank chairman Azman Hashim said it was an expensive lesson for the banking group but they could not guarantee that it would not happen again.
"Even Citibank and HSBC get into trouble because of non-compliance,” said Mr Azman. “They have to keep updating themselves; money launderers are just as smart.”
He added: “It is costly, but we need to train everyone to be knowledgeable. As to whether it will happen again? I can’t say, it’s human factor - I have 12,000 people working under me.”