BSI – Would Singapore teach the Americans how to run a clean financial system?

‘This will send a chilling message to bankers here, pushing them to ensure robust anti money laundering and counter terrorism financing strategies are at play as  otherwise the risk of losing their regulatory licences is now more pronounced. – Nizam Ismail, Head of Regulatory practices in Singapore law firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing.

This statement came after the shocking closing of BSI by the MAS and the revoking of its banking licence for its part in the 1MDB case. It was also fined for $13.3m.  Several of its top executives including the CEO are now under investigation while one executive is facing several charges. Some have resigned and some suspended.

Could Singapore do better or just do what the Americans have been doing against rogue banks, not rogue bankers? The Americans have been finding the banks hundreds of billions of dollars for money laundering and improper criminal business activities. And the US govt is pocketing the money happily, hundreds of billions after so many banks were caught with their pants down. And the CEOs and top management of fraudulent banks are also happily continuing with their business, continue to do the same, not guilty of any crime and not having to resign or pay any fines. The heavy fines are paid by the banks, ie shareholders’ money.

Singapore in this case did a few things different. Find BSI a miserable $13.3m but closed the bank. Also one executive is facing charges, ok this is the same in the USA, junior executives would be charged. No big fish involved.  Would Singapore go further to charge the CEO and top executives? They must have known what was going on and approved the dealings. No?

Now, how would this affect this island’s financial system and reputation as a squeaky clean country?  According to a veteran market watcher Mano Sabmani, ‘the problem at BSI are not likely to be contagious…”It is probably the main rotten egg and the entire basket is not necessarily contaminated”.’ I like his confidence in the system. This is like there are negligible foreigners here working using fake degrees or forged credentials because so far only one has been exposed and accepted as no fault, just a slight error in judgement. And the few hundreds caught, small matters. With 2 millions working here, a few hundred is probably all the problem there is. The rest are clean.

So this thing is not contagious. The rest of the banks and bankers would not be caught for such vices. The system is sound and intact, like there are no more foreigners working here under fake degrees and forged credentials. Not to worry. If there is anything different, maybe the CEO and top executives in BSI may not get away too easily in this case. Other than that, all is fine. Singapore is a fine city. How can Singapore’s reputation be dragged down into the mud as one of those money laundering countries? This is only one rotten case.


Anonymous said...

Actually hor, if you notice, Singapore is closing down BSI at about the same time as the Swiss AG Office orders criminal proceedings against the parent BSI SA Bank.

Is there any correlation between the actions?

And yes, why didn't Singapore go further to charge the CEO and top executives? Why only charge an executive or 2 down the line? Aren't the CEO and top executives having even greater responsibility for the mess and crime? Why MAS must refer them to the public prosecuter first? Don't the CAD able to decide on that?

Anonymous said...

Is this a GREAT case?

How long have they been committing with EASE without being caught?

Why now then kanna?


Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

The innards of Singapore's financial system is secret. The US banking system is open and transparent.

On the face of it, Singapore does a much better job is protecting the "good" people who want to hide their money, and busting the "bad" people who are up to no good.

Majulah bank secrecy!

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

BSI is going get its arse reamed by the Swiss banking regulators. Self interest here is very much at play. Switzerland has often been accused in being complicit in aiding and abetting money launderers and criminals with big money gained form criminal activity.

BSI will probably end up the "scape goat" and the poster child for Switzerland's new image in banking and change its image from "bad guys" to the new, morally-upright "good guys".

Anonymous said...

What is stopping Singapore authorities from contacting 1MDB?


Anonymous said...




All wayang.........

Anonymous said...

The closing of BSI is just act-tough PR.
Scroobal has got quite a good take on the saga at SBF. Go read it up