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DBS accepts S$2.6m penalty for AML control breaches

It is being fined for breaches related to 11 of its corporate customers.

DBS said that it accepts the penalties imposed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for breaches in the bank’s anti-money laundering (AML) controls.

Singapore’s financial regulator has imposed composition penalties amounting to S$3.8m in total to Citibank, DBS, OCBC, and Swiss Life (Singapore) for breaches to MAS’ Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements. All the institutions have reportedly accepted the penalties, MAS said. 

DBS– which is Singapore’s biggest bank by assets–was penalized S$2.6m for breaches related to accounts maintained by 11 corporate customers. DBS paid the highest amongst the four entities penalized.

According to MAS, DBS– failed to maintain due diligence regarding ownership, update customers’ money laundering and terrorism risk ratings, and adequately establish the source of wealth as well as inquire into the background and purpose of the transactions.

“We acknowledge that we could have done better,” DBS said in a statement published at the Singapore Exchange.

“While we detected and acted upon some of these activities through transaction monitoring and customer due diligence–and ultimately exited all relevant entities– we were unable to unravel the scheme in its entirety,” the bank said.

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MAS took action for lapses in DBS’ AML obligations related to Wirecard that took place between July 2015 and February 2020. The transactions were part of an “elaborately orchestrated scheme” which involved a network of complex corporate structures, nominee arrangements, and financial products that concealed actual control and ownership, DBS said.

DBS said that it is in a materially better position compared to the time it was being penalized, saying that it has since worked with MAS to enhance the effectiveness of its AML controls.

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