Standard Chartered Bank was slapped with a 5.2 million SGD for breaching anti-money laundering regulations (Photo: bangkokpost.com)

Singapore (VNA) - The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has imposed penalties on the local units of two UK-based banks – Standard Chartered and Coutts – for breaching anti-money laundering (AML) rules related to Malaysia's 1MDB fund.

According to a statement of MAS, Standard Chartered Bank was fined 5.2 million SGD (3.65 million USD) while the Coutts received a penalty of 2.4 million SGD (1.68 million USD).

The inspection at Standard Chartered Bank revealed "significant lapses" in due diligence measures, the MAS said, adding that some staff members were unaware of money laundering risks.

While the 28 breaches here were "serious", the Singaporean central bank did not find "wilful misconduct."

At the Coutts, which was sold to Union Bancaire Privee in 2015, the investigation revealed 24 breaches of AML requirements in relation to customer due diligence measures for “politically exposed persons”, a term for people with close government connections.

MAS is also in the process of issuing a 10-year prohibition order against former Goldman Sachs director Tim Leissner, thus he would not be able to work in the Singapore finance industry during the term.

Leissner, who oversaw the 1MDB account, had issued an unauthorised reference letter saying that due diligence had been carried out on Low Taek Jho and his family, and that no money laundering concerns had been detected. Low Taek Jho is said to have close ties with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Leissner resigned from the bank in February.

MAS said Leissner’s statements were untrue and were made without Goldman Sachs' approval.

MAS said it would continue to examine Goldman Sachs' role in 1MDB bond transactions.

The 1MDB fund was set up by the Malaysian Government to promote economic development through global partnership and foreign direct investment. However, it was revealed in 2015 that the fund suffered losses amounting to 3.5 billion USD during transactions for years.-VNA