BSI bleeding billions after 1MDB probes


ZURICH: Billions of dollars have been withdrawn by clients of Banca della Svizzera Italiana, or BSI, following probes into its dealings with 1MDB, and money laundering accusations.

BSI’s private banking arm suffered 6.3 billion Swiss francs (RM25.7 billion) in outflows in the last three months, the bank’s current owner BTG Pactual said.

The result was also marred by the strong Swiss franc versus the Brazilian real, said a Finnews report.

BSI is in the process of being acquired by Zurich-based private bank EFG International, a deal which will make the combined bank Switzerland’s fifth-largest by assets.

The purchase is expected to close in the fourth quarter, according to Finnews.

The remaining integration of BSI into EFG is planned for after the deal’s closing, and is to be concluded by mid-2017.

Switzerland-based BSI is appealing a May decision by Swiss financial watchdog Finma, which alleges that BSI breached money laundering rules through a business relationship and transactions linked to 1MDB.

Finma, according to Reuters, ordered BSI to hand over profits amounting to 95 million Swiss francs and to shut down once it had been integrated into EFG. BSI said Finma’s decision was “incorrect.”

Singapore’s Business Times (BT) had earlier reported that BSI was the custodian bank for some USD4 billion of funds invested by 1MDB.

It said the Monetary Authority of Singapore stripped BSI of its merchant bank licence for serious breaches in anti-money laundering controls, poor management oversight, and gross misconduct by some staff.

According to the BT report, BSI’s clients included 1MDB, related entities, and Malaysian tycoon Low Taek Jho. About SD120 million in assets belonging to Low and his immediate family have been seized by Singapore authorities.