SINGAPORE: The former deputy CEO and head of private banking of BSI Bank Limited’s Singapore branch (BSIS) Raj Sriram was on Monday (Oct 10) issued a 10-year prohibition order and a 24-month conditional warning.
Mr Sriram contributed to BSIS’ failure to file suspicious transaction reports for transactions related to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in a statement.
The prohibition order, which took effect on Monday, was issued by MAS, while the conditional warning was from SPF’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).
The prohibition order bans Mr 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”, said the joint statement.
CAD investigated Mr Sriram in relation to his role in BSIS’ business dealings and relationships with the subsidiaries of 1MDB and Aabar Investments PJS Limited, the purported subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments PJS.
SPF and MAS said the department found that there were “reasonable grounds for BSIS to file suspicious transaction reports in respect of 1MDB-related transactions” as required under an MAS notice for merchant banks on the prevention of money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.
Due to Mr Sriram’s neglect, BSIS did not file the reports, the statement said.
SPF and MAS said that, in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, CAD issued a conditional warning in lieu of prosecution to Mr Sriram for two offences under the MAS Act.
Under the warning, Mr Sriram paid a sum of S$150,000 to the Singapore Government’s Consolidated Fund and committed to refrain from criminal conduct for a period of 24 months.
He will also continue to cooperate with CAD in its 1MDB-related investigations and will not accept any directorship positions or positions of similar substance or form for a period of four years from Sep 6, 2021.
The statement also said that Mr Sriram’s conduct warranted a 10-year prohibition order as he held a senior position at BSIS and his neglect had contributed to BSIS’ failure to file the suspicious transaction reports.
Ms Ho Hern Shin, deputy managing director of financial supervision at MAS, said: “BSIS, of which Mr Sriram was deputy CEO and head of private banking, was a key conduit for tainted funds in the 1MDB debacle.”
Ms Ho noted that MAS withdrew BSIS’ licence in May 2016 due to “serious and repeated breaches” of laws to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The ultimate responsibility for ensuring a financial institution’s compliance with such laws and regulations rests with its board of directors and senior management, she added.
SPF and MAS said that they take a serious view of compliance with these laws and the filing of suspicious transaction reports.
CAD director David Chew said: “The suspicious transaction reporting regime is a key pillar of Singapore’s approach to anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.
“The Singapore authorities will not hesitate to take firm action against reporting entities, or their officers, who intentionally or negligently fail to file suspicious transaction reports when legally obliged to do so.”