StanChart Singapore fined S$5.2m for anti-money laundering, countering of terrorism financing breaches

Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore Branch and Standard Chartered Trust (Singapore) Limited were found to have breached anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism requirements.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced it has imposed penalties of S$5.2 million ($3.95 million) on Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore Branch (SCBS) and S$1.2 million on Standard Chartered Trust (Singapore) Limited (SCTS) for breaches of its anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism requirements.

In a statement on Monday, MAS said the breaches occurred when trust accounts of SCBS’ customers were transferred from Standard Chartered Trust (Guernsey) to SCTS from December 2015 to January 2016.

MAS added that it found SCBS’ and SCTS’ risk management and controls in relation to the transfers to be “unsatisfactory”.

The transfers occurred shortly before Guernsey’s implementation of the Common Reporting Standards (CRS) for the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters.

MAS said: “The timing of the transfers raised questions of whether the clients were attempting to avoid their CRS reporting obligations.”

“However, SCBS and SCTS did not adequately assess and mitigate against this risk factor, and also failed to file suspicious transaction reports in a timely manner.”

In determining the regulatory action, MAS said it took into consideration mitigating factors.

It said that SCBS had proactively notified the regulator of its internal review on the trust accounts, and SCBS and SCTS magement “showed strong commitment to address the deficiencies identified by MAS”.

Both SCBS and SCTS have taken prompt and substantive remedial measures to strengthen their AML/CFT risk management and controls, said MAS.

MAS’ deputy managing director Mr Ong Chong Tee said: “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.”