BNM Governor: 1MDB paid compound fine

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KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara Governor Muhammad Ibrahim said the central bank’s investigations into 1MDB had concluded as the state investment arm had settled the compound fine it imposed.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 20th Malaysian Banking Summit, Muhammad said BNM will cooperate with other authorities investigating 1MDB.

It had been previously reported that 1MDB had been given until May 30 to pay Bank Negara’s compound fine for failing to repatriate monies remitted abroad. The amount of the compound fine has not been disclosed.

“Regulatory authorities will carry out their investigations based on the rules and regulations under their jurisdiction.

“There are other laws administered by other authorities, and Bank Negara will give our
cooperation on this matter.”

Earlier this week, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the closure of BSI Bank in the republic due to repeated violations of money-laundering regulations and other misconduct.

MAS did not explicitly name Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd in its statement.

However, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority said in Zurich that Swiss-based BSI AG had committed serious breaches of money laundering regulations through business relationships and transactions linked to the corruption scandals surrounding 1MDB.

Meanwhile, AmBank Chairman Azman Hashim said the RM53.7 million fine on the group last year for compliance breaches was an “expensive lesson”.

“The Australian” newspaper reported last November that AmBank paid a RM53.7 million fine after Bank Negara found it had breached anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism finance obligations in relation to “politically exposed persons”.

The report said that the breaches were linked to the 1MDB scandal.

Azman noted that even some of the biggest international banks had been fined billions in the past due to non-compliance with regulations.

He said regulations were getting tougher, while money launders were also getting smarter, hence there was a need to keep upgrading systems and training people to ensure compliance.

Azman put the problem down to the human factor and there was no guarantee that there would be no further breaches, noting that there were some 12,000 employees in the group.

“We will try our best not to breach regulations as penalties are getting heavier.”